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Preface to Genesis: from Paradise to Patriarchs

As the result of a tragic incident, a very young woman had a child out of wedlock. This child was given up for adoption, not to be seen or heard from for many years. As this woman entered the later years of her life, that son called her on an Easter weekend. When this mother and son met for the first time in many years, her son told her of the efforts he had expended to find her. His adoptive parents were wonderful, loving people, but he was compelled to meet his biological mother. He wanted to know from whence he had come, and the one who had begotten him.

This story could be repeated, in various forms, many times over. We all want to know where we have come from. Gentiles who have come to faith in Jesus Christ have been adopted into the family of God. In biblical terms, we have been grafted into the life of the vine, and that vine is Israel (see Romans chapter 11). Our “roots” as Christians run very deep in Bible history. We should want to know where we have come from, and it is the Book of Genesis that describes these origins.

In Genesis, we find an account of the origin of our world, and of mankind (chapters 1 and 2). We find as well the origin of human depravity and sin in the “fall of man” depicted in Genesis chapter 3. We see its devastating effects in the wickedness of men and its dire consequences in the judgment of God in the curse (chapters 3 and 4), in the flood (chapters 6-9), in the confusion at Babel (chapter 11), and in the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah (chapters 18 and 19). We also see the grace of God in His provisions for man’s salvation, beginning with the promise of salvation in Genesis 3:15, being further evidenced in the ark and God’s covenant with Noah (chapters 6-9), in the rescue of Lot and his family (chapter 19), in the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, etc.), and in the sojourn of Israel in Egypt (chapters 37ff.).

Genesis is not a “once upon a time” fairy tale. It is history, but written in such a way as to hold our attention throughout its 50 chapters. Let us approach this study with the enthusiasm it deserves. Let us listen and learn from whence we have come, as well as to learn more of that “paradise” to which all true Christians are destined.

I would suggest that before you begin to study this book (and these messages about it) in detail, you begin by sitting down and reading through the entire book, in one sitting if possible. It will be time well spent. And then I would urge you to pray that God would make the message and the meaning of this book clear to you, in a way that will be a part of the transformation of your life (see Ephesians 4:17-24). And when you pray, ask God that He would grant that you see more of Christ, for He is certainly to be found in this great book.