What is the Purpose of Genesis?

(Posted by Joel Beeke)

The purpose of the Bible—Genesis in particular—is to reveal God to us. It is to show us His person and nature, insofar as we are able to know Him; His plans and works, insofar as we are able to understand them. The very first words in the divine canon—“In the beginning God”—set us in the presence of the living God in whom we live, move, and have our being, both physically and spiritually.

The Bible begins with God. His existence is presupposed as a fact to be believed. With a few strokes of his pen, Moses, the author of Genesis, repudiates atheism (for he declares the existence of God), materialism (for he distinguishes between God and His material creation), pantheism (for he presents God as a personal Creator), and polytheism (for he sets God forth as the only God).

The infinite source of true blessedness is set before us in four words: “In the beginning God.” The purpose of Genesis is to reveal God to us in His person as the Creator and Provider, as the Redeemer and Lord of history. Like all of Scripture, Genesis is not so much a history of man as of God’s sovereign, gracious redemption of fallen sinners.

Genesis is primarily theocentric (God-centered) and only secondarily anthropocentric (man-centered) and geocentric (earth-centered). “In the beginning God” is the foundational truth of Genesis, the Bible, and all theology. False systems of theology begin with man or this earth and attempt to work up to God, whereas true theology begins with God and works down to man.

Genesis is not primarily a book about biology or geology but theology. That does not mean it is scientifically inaccurate. Rather, the focus of the book of Genesis is on God, which sets the foundation for the God-centeredness of the Bible. Genesis is written and designed that we as needy sinners might come to know and worship God in Jesus Christ, whom God has sent to us unto our everlasting life (John 17:3).

Is God the center and focus of your life? Do you know Him in Jesus Christ?

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