What are the themes of the book of Genesis?
Genesis can be placed into six major contexts—Pre-creation, Creation (Gen 1-2); The Fall of man (Genesis 3-4); Noah through the Flood (Genesis 5-10); The Tower of Babel with the introduction of languages (Genesis 11:1-9); and The Patriarchal Era (Genesis 11:10-50). In each of these contexts—God, Man, Creation and World order are considered.
The book of Genesis begins by introducing God who existed before the Creation (Genesis 1:1). Genesis does not argue for the existence of God, rather it is written with the fundamental presupposition that before the world was created, God was ie; “In the beginning God”.
Genesis also states that it was God who created the world (Genesis 1:1). The theological implication of (Genesis 1:1) is that God is self–existing with asiety, that He is eternal, that everything exists because He created it, and that He transcends Creation.
The Book of Genesis is clear that it was God who created the world and all that it comprises (Gen 1–2). This includes the heavens, consisting of the sun, moon, the stars which are literally, the trillions of other planets in the universe, the earth and all that it contains, including the land, seas, vegetation, insects, animals, birds, and sea creatures. Genesis also is clear that God created man, and that He created man in His own image. Genesis does not provide the details of God's act of creation, it makes it very clear that evolution was not a part of the process, and in particular, that man did not evolve from other creatures.
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:24–25
To be more specific, humans and animals can’t reproduce, regardless of the imaginations of men.
In Genesis God created the world by the power and authority of His words; “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24). God acts on the basis of His own will, sovereignty, authority, power, knowledge, wisdom and understanding to create the world, giving it its form and function as He determined it. He is the only One who is Sovereign and Lord over the universe, for He is the One who spoke the Creation into existence (Gen ch. 1). There can be no higher authority than the One who speaks and brings into existence what did not exist before except as a concept within His own understanding.
Genesis reveals God as the One in whom life exists. Life is inherent in God. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7).
Genesis reveals that God is a relational being who created man in His own image to have a relationship with him that is unique in all of the Creation (Gen 1:26, 27; 3:8). Being made in Gods image means God has given man certain of His attributes in order for man to be able to relate to Him. The way we access these attributes is through the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
God has many attributes, many He cannot share with men, as in His omniscience and asiety among others, but those He has shared that make man in His own image are these..
Love - (1 John 4:8-9, 16, Romans 8:35-39)
Joy – (Ezra 6:22, Romans 5:11)
Peace – (Romans 15:33, 1 Corinthians 14:33)
Long Suffering – (Numbers 14:18, Exodus 34:6) Enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently
Gentleness – (2 Samuels 22:33-36, 2 Corinthians 10:1)
Kindness – (Psalm 117:2)
Faithfulness – (1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Integrity – Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay (Matthew 5:37, James 5:12, Genesis 26:3, 1 Kings 8:20)
Merciful – (Deuteronomy 4:31, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Joel 2:13, Psalm 116:5)
Gracious – (Nehemiah 9:17, 31, Psalm 103: 8, Joel 2:13 Merciful)
Kindness – (Ruth 2:20, Psalm 31:21, Isaiah 54:8)
Peace – (Isaiah 45:7, Romans 15:13, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Timothy 1:7).
Holy – (Leviticus 19:2, Joshua 24:19, Romans 21:1, 1 Peter 1:15-16)
Forgiveness – (Matthew 6:15, Daniel 9:9)
In contrast to these virtues God also gives us..
Anger – (Psalm 103:8, Exodus 4:14, Deuteronomy 7:4, 2 Samuel 6:7, 2 Chronicles 28:25)
Jealousy – (Exodus 20:5, Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, Nahum 1:2)
Vengefulness - (Nahum 1:2, Romans 12:19, Ezekiel 25:14)
And finally he gives us Eternal Life, as God is an eternal being, either way, in life or in judgment, man is an eternal being.
After the Fall of man, God is shown as choosing, calling, and separating to Himself certain individuals, the seed of the woman for reasons known only to Him (Genesis 5:22–24; 6:8, 13, 7:1; 12:1, 7, Genesis 26:1–3, 23, 24; 28:10–22; 31:3; 32:24–30; 35:1, 9; 46:1–4).
While God is mysterious to man in many ways, it is clear from the text of Genesis that God wants man to know Him to the extent man can, within the limitation of mans capacities that God has given him. We see this in God’s interactions with Adam, Cain, Enoch, Noah, and then especially with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with whom He entered into a covenant–relationship, and through that, a unique relationship with all of Israel.
Genesis also reveals God as the One who judges the actions of all beings human and otherwise (i.e., the serpent) and executes judgment by pronouncing punishment upon those who violate His commands, decrees, order of life. This is seen in the case of Adam, Eve, and the serpent (Gen 3:8–19), Cain (Gen 4:9–15), all mankind in Noah’s generation (Gen 6:5–7, 12), all mankind in the generation after the Flood (Gen 11:5–9), and in the case of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:20, 19:29).
God alone establishes what is good and what is evil based on His own inherent nature. God alone has the authority and power to hold all beings accountable to Him as their creator. God alone pronounces and executes judgment not through an army of angelic beings but through His word of judgment. Therefore, Genesis reveals God as the Judge, the One to whom all beings are accountable.