Introduction to the Book of Genesis

Ch 1-11 (Pre Historical Period)

Summary

The sacred author presents a state of harmony and disharmony in relationships between God, mankind and other created things in the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. The narrative oscillates between creation and recreation and focusses on the mercy of God rather than on sin.

Purpose

The first eleven chapters of Genesis recount events that ranged from creation to around 1850 BC. They are thus a reflection on thousands and thousands of years in the life of mankind. It should be clear, however, that this is not a detailed history. While the inspired author used ancient sources about ancient peoples — the best material on hand — he does not pretend to give an account of the history of mankind. His primary object was more theological than historical. Thus many historical details (e.g. where Cain got his wife) did not arouse the author’s concern; nor ought they to concern us.

Source

The first eleven chapters of Genesis are generally agreed to be a compilation based on two earlier sources or traditions. These two sources are called the Yahwist (J) and the Priestly (P) writers

Golden rules to remember before we embark on this journey

  1. Unlearn everything that you know about Genesis Stories and be open to learn something new today.
  2. The first eleven chapters should be considered and studied together and not in isolation.
  3. The author is not interested in presenting facts but wants to reveal / convey certain truths and values.
  4. The presentation in Ch 1-11, reflect how the author shares his relationship with God.
  5. The author presents his ideas in picturesque format and hence one should not consider the same literally.
  6. Finally, remember that the Bible we have in our hands today was not written in sequential order. Hence, the Book of Genesis that we read today is the final output of the people of Israel grown and matured in faith and who believe in One God.

Book Study Structure

  1. The Great Harmony (Gen 1:1-2:25)
  2. The Damaged Harmony (Gen 3:1-6:4)
  3. The Collapse of Creation (Gen 6:5-8:19)
  4. The Required Adjustments (Gen 9:1-27)
  5. The Division of Nations and its Meaning (Gen 10:1-11:9)

Kindly keep me in your prayers.

In Christ,

Steven Pais