Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 01

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Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 1

by Larry Groenewald

We know that Genesis is the book of beginnings or generations. The title “Genesis” is a transliteration of the Greek word “geneseos” (Hebrew word is “toledoth”) which is translated as “generations”, and this word “toledoth” appears in several verses in Genesis (ref. Gen 2:4, Gen 5:1, Gen 6:9 (2), Gen 10:1, Gen 10:32, Gen 11:10, Gen 11:27, Gen 25:12-13 (2), Gen 25:19, Gen 36:1, Gen 36:9, Gen 37:2). The Hebrew name for the book is “bereshith”, the first word in the Hebrew text, which is translated in English as “in the beginning”:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning (Strongs #H7225: rêshı̂yth) God created the heaven and the earth. [English transliteration: Bereishit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz]

‘In the beginning’ God also declared something about His plan, His direction, His purpose and also very importantly, the ending of what He started. Genesis therefore gives a very important foundation on which our spiritual understanding of God’s work is to be built which totally ties in with the end or ultimate spiritual fulfilment. The end of a thing is better than the beginning, but the beginning initiates the process:

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

God has indeed counted the cost of everything He created ‘in the beginning’ and He will have “sufficient” to finish the work He started:

Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Genesis starts to reveal the process how God is creating all in the first Adam to be with Him and to be like Him. Although the book starts by giving us a very authoritative declaration of the creation of our natural universe, it ultimately, sets the stage, so to speak, by which God will bring forth a new spiritual creation eventually. There is a very important reason why God is doing this in this way:

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

The creation of a visible natural world supplies us with the spiritual types of a deeper unseen world on which we in this study will be focussing on. Physical things can never give us faith:

2Co 5:6-7 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Everything in the physical world is given primarily to help us understand that they are all types of the unseen spiritual Godly antitypes which are reflected in our inner spiritual development and insight. A shadow is there only because an object is casting that shadow. We are sick and tired of chasing shadows – we want the reality – the heavenly things:

Heb 8:5 Who (the earthly priests) serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

But to understand the spiritual reality we must understand the shadow. Genesis is laying the foundations on which the whole spiritual purpose of God with His creation is built on. It shows the door that will open, God willing, to enable us to receive more spiritual understanding to the ‘deep things of God’:

1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Introduction to today’s study:

We know that all Scripture is inspired or breathed by God:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The primary function of the Scripture is to give spiritual insight, but to get to that hidden part we are first given a natural view:

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

1Co 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The natural point of view comes to us first and also serves as a parable to hide or prevent the multitude (or the ‘natural man’) to see the true spiritual meaning:

Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them (the multitude) in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

The ‘natural man’ also sees all kinds of things in the Scriptures which, by God’s design and workings, serve to confirm and strengthen his carnal viewpoint. With the very same words written down God works two miracles in one: He opens the eyes of a few in this age, while He is using the same words to close the eyes of others:

Exo 14:20 And it (the cloud) came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among (Greek: “en” = “in”) them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

The Bible has been misrepresented by the ‘princes of this world’ to establish all kinds of human arguments and false teachings. The purpose of these arguments is to basically focus people’s attention on unimportant side-line issues, just to keep them busy with. These are designed to be time consuming debates and exercises while others are used to attack the faith of many directly. Under the guise of science (‘falsely so called’) some with ‘profane and vain babblings’ want to undermine and oppose the true science (Greek: gnōsis = knowledge) of God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science (Greek: gnōsis = knowledge) falsely so called:

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge (Greek: gnōsis = knowledge) of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge (Greek: gnōsis = knowledge) of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Our purpose and focus is not to win an argument in this life, but to ask God to help us to come together ‘so much more’ to provoke each other to good works, that is spiritual works:

Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Our aim should be to ask our heavenly Father to unmask the false teachings in our own hearts so that the life and mind of Christ be established. We pray that God will help us to push all those side issues to their right and proper place. When the Light of God is brought to us all these human and natural arguments and reasoning become very pale and insignificant:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To stay within the boundaries of ‘what is written’ is the safety God has provided for those who do not despise His Word:

1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

When the Scripture is silent on a topic, we are silent. Those who are puffed up with extra-biblical “knowledge” will always impress those who walk in flesh. But we have found that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God, even now in us:

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

When we discover the deeper and more fulfilling purposes why the studies in the Scriptures (and this book of Genesis) are so fundamental in our spiritual development, we rest not day and night if we are given the eyes to see the kingdom of God inside:

Rev 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

As the inner spirit man grows in us we reach out to others as elders in the faith to help them within the guidelines which the word of God provides:

Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

This is where we sharpen our spiritual tools to be of service to others. Everyone sees spiritual things with the measure of faith God gives to each one as that faith is growing all the time:

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

No one needs to feel inferior to others because that is a carnal position to begin with, and after all, we are exactly at the right ‘office’ or place ordained by God. It is only at the first resurrection of the dead that spiritual perfection will be given to a few:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming;

1Co 15:52 in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

To be given eyes inside is the task of God alone. No man can give faith to another. Faith is a gift from God and we must ask God for faith to believe His Word:

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Various themes

Genesis is a book of firsts. Genesis records the first man Adam and his creation, the first marriage and family, the first birth, the first sacrifice, the first death/sacrifice, the first murder, the first musical instruments and the first rain/rainbow, among so many others. All the great themes of Scripture (and of life) are found in Genesis and run through every page of the Bible. These themes will hopefully help us to get a progressively better understanding of the mind of Christ to be applicable in our lives. We will try to unpack them as they initially appear in Genesis but also in the various books of the Bible to confirm that the truth is found in the sum of God’s Word. I have isolated a few themes I could find (please add to the list):

  • The Godhead: The Father and His Son Jesus Christ
  • Mankind
  • Creation / process
  • Two basic “generations”:
    • Heaven and earth
    • Light and darkness
    • Flesh vs spirit
    • Good vs evil
    • Life and death
    • Election and rejection
  • The purpose and meaning of
    • Love / Mercy / Grace
    • Hope
    • Repentance
    • Faith
    • Baptisms
    • Reconciliation
    • Resurrection/Regeneration
    • Judgement
    • Sin/separation
    • Covenants: provisions, promises, blessings, curses
    • Spiritual principalities
    • Deception
    • Prayer
    • Dreams
    • Laws
    • Numbers
    • Sacrifices
    • Salvation
    • Redemption
    • Justification
    • Sanctification
    • Glorification

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