This week I’m attending a six day conference on the book of Genesis. Unfortunately I won’t be resting on the seventh day; I’ll be driving 21 hours back to Austin. It’s worth it though. This week is always packed with revelation, worship, and fellowship with the roughly 5,000 people in attendance.
The next three of these conferences will be on Genesis, so I wanted to do another post in general about Genesis.
The Relevant Relic
Genesis has never failed to capture the interest of each new generation of readers. I’m always surprised by how often a new translation or version of Genesis appears on store shelves.
With the exception of the four Gospels, I suppose there is no book in the Bible more deeply interesting than the book of Genesis.
Genesis possesses an enduring element that makes it both venerable and vogue at the same time. A relic that remains relevant. Jesus quoted from or referred to Genesis multiple times in His ministry (Matt. 19:3-8; Luke 17:26-30; John 1:51). These references show the book’s import for moral precedent, historical analogy, and typological significance. The New Testament as a whole, references Genesis at least 200 times.
Despite repeated attacks on its opening pages and unapologetic claims (the opening sentence repudiates atheism, materialism, and pantheism), Genesis remains. The death knell has been sounded more than once, but a corpse has never been procured. Genesis is not only alive and well, it is life-giving (John 6:63) and breathes with the very breath of God (2 Tim. 3:16). It is unassailable because its author and content is the unassailable, living God.
A Revelation of God’s Eternal Purpose
The sublime narrative that Genesis introduces, the stirring biographies it details, the sweeping history it recounts, and the typological significance it holds all make Genesis a worthy introit for Holy Writ. Witness Lee called it “a miniature of the complete revelation of the entire Bible.” Augustine said, “The whole narrative of Genesis, in the most minute details, is a prophecy of Christ and of the Church.” These fifty chapters contain endless riches to discover.
At first glance, the record of Genesis 1-3, especially, doesn’t seem to touch the depths of God’s intention. To some it may seem this literary masterpiece begins with a child’s cartoon or an overly simplistic fable-like story. But in these two chapters is the reason for everything. Genesis 1-3 are the answer to every philosophical “why”.
All the fundamentals of God’s pristine purpose are here, unsullied by the fall and beyond the need of redemption.
All of this is buried just below the surface of the majestic origins account. Perhaps this makes it all the more compelling.
Arthur W. Pink, with his typical literary flourish, described the opening chapter of Genesis like this:
Not all the combined skill of the greatest literary geniuses, historians, poets, or philosophers this world has ever produced, could design a composition which began to equal Genesis 1. For reconditeness of theme, and yet simplicity of language; for comprehensiveness of scope, and yet terseness of expression; for scientific exactitude, and yet the avoidance of all technical terms; it is unrivalled, and nothing can be found in the whole realm of literature which can be compared with it for a moment. It stands in a class all by itself. If “brevity is the soul of wit” (e.g. wisdom) then the brevity of what is recorded in this opening chapter of the Bible evidences the divine wisdom of Him who inspired it. Contrast the labored formulae of the scientists, contrast the verbose writings of the poets, contrast the meaningless cosmogonies of the ancients and the foolish mythologies of the heathen, and the uniqueness of this Divine account of Creation and Restoration will at once appear. Every line of this opening chapter of Holy Writ has stamped across it the autograph of Deity.
I’ll be in California all week soaking this in and praying that God would show me more. Catch the highlights, overflow, and enjoyment by following #GenCS on Twitter.
1. C. H. Mackintosh, Genesis to Deuteronomy: Notes on the Pentateuch, p. 16
2. Witness Lee, Life-Study of Genesis, p. 820
3. Augustine, Answer to Faustus 12.8
4. A. W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, pp. 12-13