The Central Thought of Genesis
With every book of the Bible, there is also a central thought. The central thought of Genesis is: Christ is the hope and salvation of fallen man, and God will make fallen man to fulfill His purpose through Christ.
Once we have a real and thorough understanding of the book of Genesis, we can see that it presents Christ as the hope and salvation of fallen man. Through Christ God will enable fallen man to accomplish His purpose.
Genesis is a book with Christ as the center, and Christ is life to the people whom He restored from the fall. Why does this book give us such a record of creation in the first two chapters? Why does it give us the biographies of eight persons in the following forty-eight chapters? We need a deeper understanding. The first two chapters appear to be a record of creation, but this is superficial. The underlying thought is focused on life. These two chapters are a record of life. They are too simple and too brief to be an adequate account of creation. Genesis 1 and 2 were not intended by God to be a record of creation, but a revelation of life.
Look into these chapters. First, it mentions that God created the universe, and that the universe was ruined, becoming waste, empty, and full of darkness. Then, the Spirit of God came in to brood in order to produce life. Following the Spirit of life came the light, also for producing life. After this, the air was made to divide the waters of death. Then the land emerged out of the death waters. The land appeared for the purpose of generating life, and immediately every kind of plant life was produced. Then came the animal life in the water, the animal life in the air, and the animal life on the earth, and, eventually, the human life. Following the human life is the divine life, indicated by the tree of life. Thus, we can see that these two chapters, strictly speaking, are not a record of creation, but of life.
What about the biographies of the eight persons? If we read Genesis carefully once again, we may be surprised that these biographies say very little about the works of these men. What mostly has been recorded is their life, their living, and their way with God. The Bible tells us little of what Adam did, but it does say how long Adam lived—930 years. If we were to write Adam’s biography, we would need hundreds of pages to tell about his work and all that he did. But Genesis only tells us how Adam walked in the presence of God.
We come to Abel, and then to Enoch. Genesis doesn’t say anything about Enoch except that he walked with God, and eventually was taken to God. This is wonderful. I do hope that I could be such a person, doing nothing and being nothing, just walking with the Lord until the day I am taken to be with Him.
You may ask, didn’t Noah do something? Yes, he did some work, but not according to himself nor for himself. He did everything according to God’s revelation and for God’s purpose. We go on to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. It is hard for us to see that Abraham did a good work, neither Isaac nor Jacob. It seems that Jacob’s son, Joseph, did something, but if we know the record we will understand that Joseph’s work was the reigning part of Jacob’s life. Joseph was reigning as a king.
Strictly speaking, Genesis is neither a book of creation nor a book of biographies. It is a book of life. God uses the record of creation to show the matter of life. God uses the biographies of eight persons to show how He needs a life to fulfill His purpose. In this book the last life was the life of Jacob, one who was eventually called Israel, the prince of God. This is God’s intention—to have an Israel. We all need to be brought to the place where God can consider us to be His Israel. This is wholly a matter of life. So, Genesis is focused on life, and this life is Christ.
The Contents of Genesis— God’s Desire and Purpose
God’s creation not only fulfills His desire and accomplishes His purpose, but also reveals His desire in the universe and manifests His purpose in eternity. Anything we make expresses our desire. Although we may not say much, the thing we make manifests our purpose. When God created the heavens, the earth with so many items, and eventually man in His own image and with authority over all created things, He surely had a purpose. By His creation we can see that God had a desire and a purpose. God’s Original Creation— Motive According to Ephesians 1:5 and 9, the motive of God’s original creation was His desire and pleasure. God carried out the original creation to fulfill His desire and to satisfy His pleasure. He desired and liked to create; so He did it to please Himself. Purpose There are two aspects of God’s purpose in His creation. Firstly, God’s purpose in His creation is to glorify the Son of God (Col. 1:15-19). Although we do not find the term the Son of God or the name Christ in Genesis 1 and 2, we learn from Romans 5:14 that Adam was a pre-figure of Christ. Adam, created in the image of God, was a type of Christ. In Adam we can see something of Christ. God’s purpose in His creation is to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ.
Secondly, creation manifests God Himself. By the heavens and the earth we can realize something of God and by man we can see something of God. God is manifested in man, especially through His Son, Christ. Christ is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9). When Christ is glorified in man in the midst of God’s creation, God is also manifested.
Why did God create the heavens? What was His purpose? If we read the Bible well, we can see that the heavens are for the earth. Even the scientists can prove this. So many things from the heavens are for the earth: the sunshine, the water, and the expanse are all for the earth. Then what is the earth for? According to the Bible, the earth is for man. Zechariah 12:1 says that God stretched forth the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man. The heavens are for the earth, the earth is for man, and man is for God. God created man as a corporate entity to contain Him, express Him, and glorify Him. (LifeStudy of Genesis, Message 1).