As many theologians and pastors know, most people in the Christian world are biblically illiterate. This is a great travesty because the Bible is full of stories and wisdom that can help individuals lead more positive and productive lives. If an individual is attempting to gain a better understanding of the Bible’s shape and substance, they can begin with the book of Genesis. Here is a brief overview.
Genesis 1-3: Days 1-6
The first three chapters of the book of Genesis contain the Creation Account. Here, the reader learns of the six days of creation followed by God’s day of rest. The first day of the creation account includes God’s production of light (Genesis 1:2-5). The second day records His creation of the firmament and the waters below (Genesis 1:6-13). The third day includes God’s production of the sea, dry land, and plant life (Genesis 1:9-13). Day four records God’s creation of the luminaries such as the stars (Genesis 1:14-19). Next-on day five-the reader learns of God creating the birds and fish (Genesis 1:20-23). Then, on day six, God creates land creatures (Genesis 1:24-25).
God’s Creation of Humanity
In addition to creating light, land, and sea, the Creation Account records God’s invention of humanity. These events begin to unfold in Genesis 1:26-31, which is also a part of the sixth day of creation. According to the biblical text, man was created in the image of God and was given permissive authority to have dominion over the fish, birds, cattle, and every creeping thing on the earth. This account records the creation of both male and female, with each sex having intrinsic value given that they are deemed the living image of God.
In his own discussion about the significance of God’s creation of humanity, John MacArthur makes a bold and thought-provoking statement: “All of creation up to this point has been merely a prelude to what would happen at the end of day six. The creation of the human race was the central object of God’s creative purpose from the beginning. In an important sense, everything else was created for humanity, and every step of creation up to this point had one main purpose: to prepare a perfect environment for Adam” (127).
When one considers Genesis 1-3 in entirety, the narrative’s primary purpose becomes plain: to inform readers of God’s creation of earth and the humans that would come to inhabit it.
Readers who want to learn more about the book of Genesis may profit from the following articles:
1. “Summary of Genesis” by Erika Grey
2. “The Book of Genesis-Simplified Version” by Barbara Kasey Smith
3. “Introduction to the Book of Genesis” by Ronald Miller
Individuals who want to know more about the Creation Story may also profit from a book I studied during one of my seminary courses:
MacArthur, John. The Battle for the Beginning. Nelson Books, 2001. Print.
My studies of Genesis and the Creation Account have increased my awareness of the Bible’s substance and significance. I hope this brief overview of the book of Genesis helps you understand more about this dynamic book also. Good luck!
Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies.