Lesson One - Approaching Genesis Through Hebraic Eyes

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• Hebrew - Essence - primary concern is the essence of things

• Greek - Form - primary emphasis is placed upon how things are experienced by the human eye


• Hebrew - viewed human history as going somewhere

• Greek - viewed human history as a never-ending cycle of aimless repetition

The extraordinary Hebrew God

• The Greeks saw laws of Nature, the Hebrews saw laws over nature.

• The natural has come to mean "the normal operation of a self-governing system," while the supernatural refers to "the interference of God in that system."

• This concept is unbiblical. (Colossians 1:16-17)

• While creation normally functions under ordained laws of physics which God maintains, this does not limit the Lord from choosing at times to supersede His own laws, and do things differently. When He does, we call it a "miracle," such as when water was turned to wine, or Lazarus was raised from the dead.

• We must not make the false assumption that God is present in the miracle but stands on the sidelines during the ordinary times.


• The Hebrews based their culture upon the assumption that divine revelation was the only sufficient starting point for truth, values and morality.

• The Greeks based their culture upon the assumption that human reason was a sufficient starting point for determining truth, measuring values, and molding morality. (Proverbs 3:5)

Let Freedom Ring

• Freedom, in a world of transcendent law and orderliness, is the recognition of those laws and living in harmony with them.

• To be free, then, means to submit oneself to the prescribed order of things, and function responsibly and creatively within the boundaries God has lovingly provided for our good and wellbeing.

• Human freedom is found in submission to the will of God. (John 15:10-11)


• Hebrew religion pursued wisdom by the light of divine revelation, looking to precepts already provided.

• Greek philosophy involved the pursuit of wisdom by the light of human reason, looking to provide its own precepts.

• The Hebrews did not spend time questioning His existence. Their questions had to do with what He required of their existence.

• The Hebrew asks "What must I do?" and the Greek asked "Why must I do it?"

The Book of Genesis




• Genesis is the Greek word meaning "origin, source, generation, or beginnings."

Literary structure

• Introduced by generations



• Although Genesis does not directly name its author, and although Genesis ends some three centuries before Moses was born, the whole of Scripture and church history are unified in their adherence to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.



• 2000 or more years, 4000-2090 B.C. (1-11)

1. Creation, 4000 B.C. or earlier (1:1)

2. Death of Terah, 2090 B.C. (11:32)

• 193 years, 2090-1897 B.C. (12-36)

1. Death of Terah, 2090 B.C. (11:32)

2. Joseph to Egypt, 1897 B.C. (37:2)

• 93 years, 1897-1804 B.C. (37-50)

1. Joseph to Egypt, 1897 B.C. (37:2)

2. Death of Joseph, 1804 B.C. (50:26)


1. The Fertile Crescent (1-11)

2. Israel (12-36)

3. Egypt (37-50)

Theme and Purpose

• The theme of Genesis is God's choice of a nation through whom He would bless all nations.

• It concentrates on the course of God's redemptive work and is not a complete or universal history.

• Genesis was written to present the beginning of everything except God:


Key Word: Beginnings

Key Verses: 3:15; 12:3

Key Chapter: 15

Christ in Genesis

• Genesis moves form the general to the specific in its messianic predictions:


• Christ is also seen in people and events that serve as types.

(A type is a historical fact that illustrates a spiritual truth.)

• Adam is "a type of Him who was to come" (Romans 5:14). Both entered the world through a special act of God as sinless men. Adam is the head of the old creation; Christ is the Head of the new creation.

• Abel's acceptable offering of a blood sacrifice points to Christ, and there is a parallel in his murder by Cain.

• Melchizedek ("righteous king") is "made like the Son of God" (Hebrews 7:3). He is the king of Salem ("peace") who brings forth bread and wine and is the priest of the Most High God.

• Joseph is also a type of Christ.

Joseph and Christ are both objects of special love by their fathers, both are hated by their brethren, both are rejected as rulers over their brethren, both are conspired against and sold for silver, both are condemned though innocent, and both are raised from humiliation to glory by the power of God.

Place in the Bible

• Genesis provides a historical perspective for the rest of the Bible by covering more time than all the other biblical books combined.

• This sweeping scope from Eden to Ur to Haran to Canaan to Egypt makes it the introduction not only to the Pentateuch but also to the Scriptures as a whole.

• Genesis gives the foundation for all the great doctrines of the Bible.

• It shows how God overcomes man's failure under different conditions. Genesis is especially crucial to an understanding of Revelation, because the first and last three chapters of the Bible are so intimately related.

Survey of Genesis

• Four Great Events

1. Creation: God is the sovereign Creator of matter, energy, space and time. Man is the pinnacle of the Creation. (Chapters 1-11)

2. Fall: Creation is followed by corruption. In the first sin man is separated from God (Adam from God), and in the second sin, man is separated from man (Cain and Abel). In spite of the devastating curse of the Fall, God promises hope of redemption through the seed of the woman (3:15).

3. Flood: As man multiplies, sin also multiplies until God is compelled to destroy humanity with the exception of Noah and his family.

4. Nations: Genesis teaches the unity of the human race: we are all children of Adam through Noah, but because of rebellion at the Tower of Babel, God fragments the single culture and language of the post-Flood world an scatters people over the face of the earth.

• Four Great People

1. Abraham: The calling of Abraham (12) is the pivotal point of the book. The three covenant promises God makes to Abraham (land, descendants, and blessing) are foundational to His program of bringing salvation upon the earth.

2. Isaac: God establishes His covenant with Isaac as the spiritual link with Abraham.

3. Jacob: God transforms this man from selfishness to servanthood and changes his name to Israel, the father of the twelve tribes.

4. Joseph: Jacob's favorite son suffers at the hands of his brothers and becomes a slave in Egypt. After his dramatic rise to the rulership of Egypt, Joseph delivers his family from famine and brings them out of Canaan to Goshen.

• Genesis ends on a note of impending bondage with the death of Joseph. There is a great need for the redemption that is to follow in the Book of Exodus.