I am writing a short (very short) introduction to each book of the Bible for a Church Bible exhibition. Each summary should be accessible to the average 13-year-old (though it is intended for adults). I aim to have an opening paragraph that is comprehensive if terse and then a further paragraph or two (if necessary) unpacking the first. Here is my first unedited stab at an intro to Genesis. I feel it is a little longer than I would like. Any helpful criticism on content, style etc would be appreciated.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Unsurprisingly, it means ‘beginning’ or ‘origin’. It tells us about the origin of the world, of humanity, of evil and suffering in history, and it tells us too about God’s promise to resolve the problem of evil and how he begins to do so in human history.
In Genesis we discover that God made and arranged all that exists. He is Creator-King of the universe. Humanity is God’s greatest creation made to resemble and represent God in creation. Tragically humanity chose to rebel against the Creator – choosing self-rule rather than God’s rule. Much of Genesis is an account of the developing evil in humanity as the inevitable outcome of this choice and showing how human evil led to God’s judgements on humanity in various ways.
However, woven through the dark narrative of the progress of evil and its consequences we have another narrative. It is a narrative of hope. God is not only judging evil he is putting in place a plan to save humanity and creation. The very humanity that has brought death and destruction will be used by God to bring life and blessing. How is not fully revealed in Genesis but the building blocks are put in place. In particular, God chooses to work through one man and his descendents to bring blessing to the world. The man is called Abraham and his descendents are the nation we call Israel. God’s promise to Abraham is expressed in these words,
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. (Gen 12:1-3)
We meet Abraham and some of his immediate descendents in Genesis but it will be many centuries, many generations and many Bible books later before we discover how God fulfils this promise in the person called Jesus.