A hundred years ago, many Bible critics claimed that stories of the patriarchs were nothing more than religious fiction. The “silence of history” concerning the patriarchs, upon which these critics based their claims, was shattered with the discovery of ancient tablets at Mari (in southeast Syria) and Nuzi (in modern-day Iraq).
References to: Tim Finlay and Jim Herst
For an overview of what will be covered in this chapter, read Genesis 12–25.
Abraham is without question one of the outstanding individuals of the Old Testament. God spoke to him personally, visited him in his home and even considered him a friend. And Abraham loved God. He obeyed him, served him, and was even willing to sacrifice his son to prove his faith. Abraham is a biblical superhero, richly deserving a place in the Old Testament Hall of Fame. But are his experiences something you can personally relate to?
Biblical authors put much thought and effort into composing God’s Word. They wanted to make sure that the reader would clearly understand and remember the important points of Scripture. Since we read the Old Testament in translation, however, it is not always possible for us to recognize the diligence of these writers. Their skill often lies hidden in the Hebrew language.
In the paradise of Eden, Adam and Eve had all they needed. They were content at first. God had given them the run of the garden, except for the fruit of one tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were told to leave that fruit alone, and they did – until the serpent, Satan, made a few subtle suggestions.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). These famous opening words of the Bible express the Hebrew and later the Christian belief about the foundation of the universe. Does the universe have meaning? Genesis tells us that it does. The universe was divinely conceived. Therefore, it can only be fully understood in light of a divine plan.
Here are some of the main things we learn from the creation account:
What’s in a name?
Genesis is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning “origin,” “beginning” or “generation.” This name was given to the book from the Greek (Septuagint) translation of Genesis 2:4: “haute he biblos geneseos ouranou kai ges,” which means “This is the book of the generations of heaven and earth.”