Genesis 1:1-6:8 – Foundations For A Successful Life In This World And Eternal Life In The World-To-Come

The Bible is the most special book, the most important of all books. It’s divinely inspired. Every word is true. It teaches us everything we need to know to live a successful life in this world followed by eternal life in the World To Come. It corrects us when we are wrong. It equips us so we can serve God the way we should. It creates hope, peace and joy in us.

To understand this Book of Books, we must understand Genesis. To understand Genesis, we must understand its earliest chapters.

The first words of Genesis: In the beginning God: The Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is a masculine plural noun. So, in the first verse of the Bible there is a hint of the singular yet plural nature of God. This is a truth that is progressively revealed in the Bible until the arrival of the Son of God, who gives us a crystal clear understanding of the Trinity – the Three-In-One nature of God.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. Here’s how: God started with a dark, empty and formless Earth which was covered with water. The Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, was hovering over the surface of the water, bringing the presence and power and wisdom of God to His creation.

During the next six days, God brought light and form and filling to that which was dark and formless and empty. He did so by speaking. The Father spoke and the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, carried out the word of His Father.

First there was darkness and then there was light. Since darkness came before light, God’s days begin when night begins.

God continued speaking, bringing more form and filling to His creation. He made the sky and separated the water under the sky from the water above the sky. He made the sun, moon and stars to fill the sky. They were designed to add beauty to the sky, and to give light on the Earth, and to serve as signs and to mark days and seasons and holidays and years.

How many stars did God make? Current estimates are that there are 200 billion galaxies – but it could be 10 times that amount – maybe more. And we think the average galaxy has 100 billion stars. That’s more stars than grains of sand in all of the world’s deserts and beaches. And our God knows each star by name. What an amazing amount of wisdom and power He has.

Then the Lord separated the land from the waters under the sky and created the seas.

He created many kinds of plants to fill the land. How many kinds of plants? We think there are about 390,000 kinds.

The Lord made creatures to fill the seas; birds to fill the sky; animals and insects to fill the land – millions of species of living things which interact with the plants and with each other to sustain each other.

Through everything God made, people can clearly see that God is a divine being who is eternal, wise and powerful – and they have no excuse for not believing in Him.

Finally, God made man, made in His image. We are introduced to the creation of man with these words: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness: Notice the plurals – us and our. How do we understand this? God was not speaking to the angels since we are made in the image of God, not in the image of angels. And this is not royal we, a plural of majesty. No, Moses informed us of a conversation between the Father and the Son about creating mankind in the image of God.

Being created in the image of God means that we have God-like abilities to think, reason, speak, choose, will, design, be creative, be artistic, order the world and rule the other creatures. Being made in the image of God enables us to know God and have a relationship with Him, and reproduce others made in His image – which is an amazing thing. Because we are made in the image of God, every human being is very special, very precious.

God created humanity with two genders – male and female. Men are different from women and women are different from men – not just physically, sexually and emotionally, but even at the cellular level. Males have one X and one Y chromosome in every cell, while females have two X chromosomes in every cell. Every cell in our bodies is either male or female. We are to agree with God that there are only two genders and support the male/female differences – not rebel against them.

God created the universe and everything in it in six literal 24 hour days. On the seventh day He rested, blessed it and made it holy – setting it apart for special purposes and special treatment. What a blessing to be able to rest and worship the Creator on this special day.

In chapter two, Moses focused on the creation of the first man. The Lord God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Man’s body is made from physical elements, but man is more than physical elements. He has a non-physical part – a soul, a spirit.

The Lord planted a garden in Eden, which means pleasure or delight, and placed Adam there. Adam’s responsibility was to take care of the garden.

The Lord put two special trees in the garden – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God is eternal and made it possible for those made in His image to live forever with Him by creating the Tree of Life. The knowledge that we can live forever with the Eternal God prevents us from thinking that life must end and therefore is meaningless. The knowledge that we can live forever with God helps us stay sane and be happy and hopeful and moral.

The Tree of Life also teaches us that we are not born with immortal souls – souls that can’t die. We have to get something outside of ourselves to live forever. Adam and Eve had to eat from the Tree of Life to live forever. For us today, to live forever we have to believe the truth about Yeshua the Messiah and become loyal to Him and His Father.

Adam was physically mature but morally immature. He was given a very precious gift – free will – but he needed to learn how to use his free will. He needed to learn what is good and what is evil, and choose what is good and reject what is evil.

As part of his moral education, the Lord commanded Adam not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And He warned Adam that if he did, the consequences would be catastrophic. He would surely die.

As Adam passed by the Tree and chose to trust God and obey His command to not eat its fruit, he would learn that trusting God and obeying the Word of God is the essence of good, and not trusting God and disobeying His Word is the essence of evil.

If Adam disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the Tree, he would also learn good and evil – but from the perspective of falling into evil and experiencing all the harm that evil brings – which is, of course, what happened.

Man, like the animals, was made with two genders. Adam had been alone. It was time for him to have a woman who would be a companion who was just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and they become one flesh- the two are united into one.

This is the first marriage, arranged by God Himself. From it, we learn the principles for a successful marriage:

Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Marriage is for those who are equally yoked. Adam and Eve shared the same faith. They believed the same things. They were committed to the same truths.

Sex is reserved for marriage. Adam and Eve did not engage in sexual activity before marriage. Sex is designed by God to help us bond with the opposite sex, remain in a life-long relationship with our mate, and reproduce and raise others who will bear the image of God and fear God. Sexual activity before marriage or outside marriage goes against God’s will.

To have a successful marriage, a man and a woman need to be independent from their parents. In order to properly bond with their spouse, they need to leave their parents.

Marriage means a man and a woman become one flesh. The two are united into one. They are to unite physically, sexually, spiritually, emotionally and financially.

In chapter 3, Moses teaches us about the Fall of Man; and the curse; and the first prophecy of redemption through the Messiah; and God’s provision of a temporary, limited atonement – until the Redeemer arrived.

Even though the world was new and free from sin, Satan, the Adversary, who was already evil, was allowed access to Earth. The leader of the fallen angels appeared to Eve in the body of a snake. He spoke to her. He deceived her. He lied to her. He undermined her faith in God and in the Word of God. He tempted her.

He told her that she wouldn’t die if she ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He told her that the real reason why God forbid her from eating the fruit of the Tree was so that she would not become like God, knowing good and evil. That, of course, was a lie. God wanted her to know good and evil – but not by eating from the fruit of the Tree.

Eve yielded to the temptation. She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband, who also ate it. This one act of faithlessness and disobedience brought sin, misery, ruination and death to the world.

Immediately everything changed. Adam and Eve changed. They felt shame because of their nakedness. They sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Their relationship to God changed. Instead of coming to God when they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they hid from Him. That alienation from God was passed on to all of their descendants. That’s the human condition – alienated from God, hiding from God.

There were consequences for this sin. The Lord punished the snake, and the fallen angel who was speaking through the snake, and Adam and Eve with punishments that fit their crimes – humiliation for the snake by crawling on it belly and groveling in the dust; a promise of defeat for the Devil through the Messiah through a descendant of Eve.

He would defeat the Adversary and undo all the damage Satan had caused. However, in this conflict the Redeemer would be wounded – a reference to Messiah’s death. This is the first Messianic prophecy and the main theme of the rest of the Bible – redemption, salvation through the Messiah.

The Lord punished Eve by promising her pain in childbirth. In spite of that, she would desire her husband, who would rule over her.

Adam was punished by the Earth being cursed. Life would no longer be a delight like it had been in Eden. There would be thorns and thistles. Life would be a struggle. Life would include pain and suffering. Adam would have to work hard and then would die. His body would return to the Earth from which it was taken.

The Lord was tough with Adam and Eve, but He was also merciful. Instead of their own inadequate efforts to cover their nakedness with fig leaves, He made clothes of animal skins for them. Animals were killed, their blood was shed and their skins were used to provide a better covering.

But Adam and Eve’s leather garments provided more than physical covering. They provided spiritual covering – but only a temporary and partial covering. An exchange of life took place when the animals died. The innocent animals absorbed Adam and Eve’s sin and died. Adam and Eve received the life of the innocent animals and were able to live.

This temporary and partial atonement covered Adam and Eve – and all of the righteous, until the arrival of the Redeemer, whose sinless life, death and resurrection made full, final, perfect and eternal atonement possible – for the righteous of all the ages.

Adam and Eve could not be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen condition. So the Lord exiled them from Eden and stationed angels at the eastern entrance of Eden to prevent anyone from returning and eating from the Tree of Life.

The good news is that those who end their part in the rebellion of the fallen angels and transfer their loyalties to the Father and Son, will be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in Paradise.

In chapter 4, Moses informed us about the consequences of the Fall. Cain and Abel were born to Adam and Eve. Abel was a shepherd. He understood the atonement truths given to his parents in Eden. He sacrificed some of the first and best animals from his flocks. Both Abel and his sacrifices were accepted by God.

Cain, however, ignored the atonement truths. He cultivated the ground and offered the Lord some of the crops he grew – a convenient but bloodless offering. Both Cain and his offering were rejected by the Lord. Cain became angry and depressed. The Lord warned him that he needed to turn from the dangerous direction he was headed to or he would be overpowered by sin. Instead of acting on the Lord’s warning, Cain gave into his anger and killed his brother.  The Lord punished the man who lived by growing things by exiling him from his land, and promising him that wherever he might try to grow things, he wouldn’t be able to. The ground would be cursed.

Over the next several generations, humanity multiplied in numbers and made many advances. We learned how to build cities, work with metals, raise animals, and create music and poetry. However, at the same time, we deteriorated morally and spiritually. The majority did not fear God. The one man-one woman principle of marriage was ignored. Men began having more than one wife. People became violent. Meanwhile, a minority, who came through Seth and Enosh, remained faithful to God.

In chapter 5, Moses informed us about the 10 generations between Adam and Noah. All of them lived much longer than we do today. All of them had children. All of them died – except for Enoch. Enoch walked with God. He was close to the Lord and did what was right. Instead of dying, the Lord took him. This teaches us that there is another place where the faithful remnant who live with God will be taken to.

In chapter 6, Moses taught us that the “sons of God” had sexual relationships with women. If these sons of God were fallen angels, and I think they were, this was a terrible sin (see 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6). If the “sons of God” were people, it means that the righteous remnant who had remained faithful to the Lord, married the descendants of Cain who were rebelling against God.

Either way, the result of this union was bad. The n’feeleem – the “fallen ones” were alive in those days. They were either demi-god-like people (think of someone like Hercules) who came from the union of fallen angels and women; or they were ordinary human beings but powerful rulers who oppressed others.

By the tenth generation from Adam, humanity was so corrupt, so rebellious against God and His ways, and so violent that the Lord was sorry He made us. He decided to destroy humanity with a world-wide flood. However, a faithful remnant – Noah and his wife and their three sons and their wives would survive. They would repopulate the Earth. God’s plan to redeem a chosen remnant of people made in His image, who would become His beloved sons and daughters – God’s plan would continue, awaiting the arrival of the Redeemer – Yeshua the Messiah.

Let’s pray:

Lord God, Your book, the Bible, is the greatest of books. It is faithful and true like You are faithful and true. Help us build our lives on these foundational Genesis truths so we can have successful lives in this world, followed by eternal life in the World-To-Come. And help us teach these truths to others so that they can have what we have. Amen.