Old Testament Survey
Genesis, Creation, and The Fall
Brief Review of OT Book Sections
The Pentateuch & The Situation of the Israelites – 2nd Generation in the wilderness, on the verge of conquest and entry into the land. They needed to know their history so that they could shape their future according to God’s design.
The first book of the Old Testament is Genesis.
What does Genesis mean? Beginning.
What begins in Genesis? (See handout)
Two crucial keys in the Israelites understanding
A.) Creation – Genesis 1,2 : Man was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27)
B.) The Fall – Genesis 3: Man has sinned and received God’s curse
Despite incredibly long lives, Genesis 5 reveals the truth of Genesis 2:17 – man separated from God begins to die.
However, mingled with the curse is the promise of redemption (Genesis 3:15)
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Two lines: Abel / Seth and Cain
The unrighteous: Cain’s line
Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy – sevenfold.”
Growing corruption – Lamech as an indication of the growing lawlessness of men
The righteous: Seth’s Line
Genesis 4:25 – 26
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore him a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
The contrast here indicates that Cain’s line did not call upon God for help, but made their own law and notions of justice. It was through Seth and his righteous line that men sought God.
Judgment of the Flood (Genesis 6 – 8 )
Because of the wickedness of men, but not the cure to the wickedness of men. (Compare Genesis 6:5-7 with 8:20-22)
Genesis 6:5-7: “5(A) The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every(B) intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And(C) the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it(D) grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Genesis 8:20-22: “20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the LORD smelled(A) the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again(B) curse[a] the ground because of man, for(C) the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.(D) Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 (E) While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,(F) day and night, shall not cease.”
Proof that the Flood did not fix the problem: (Genesis 9-11)
Even if all but one family of men are wiped out, sin resurfaces. Additionally, for the Israelites, the first passage explains the curse upon the Canaanites and the second diversity of languages and nations.
A) Genesis 9:18-27 – The sin of Ham, the Father of Canaan
18The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were(A) Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19These three were the sons of Noah, and(B) from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.[a]
20Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.[b] 21He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24When Noah awoke from his wine(C) and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25he said,
26He also said,
“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his servant.
27May God enlarge Japheth,[c]
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his servant.”
B) Genesis 11 – The Tower of Babel – Men reject the basic command of God to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it. God confuses them so as to force their scattering, and to keep them from fully organizing their rebellion against him. This provides the time God needs to work His plan.
So what is the answer? (Genesis 12 and beyond)
God is going to start with one man, Abraham, from the righteous line of Seth and of Noah. We may not know God is going to crush the head of the serpent yet, but that is the hope men live with. The Israelites would know that God had made them, that mankind had sinned and fallen, and that through a faithful line of people God was working to restore the world. We will see this begin to shape next time.
Take away points
1. The dignity of man as the image of God, and the fall of man are crucial to understanding the puzzling mix of good and evil we see in people and in the world.
2. The flood was the judgment of God on evil, but is was not the cure to that evil.
3. God is preserving for himself a righteous line in mankind, from Adam to Seth to Noah and beyond.