Genesis is the book of beginnings. It takes us back into the very dawn of human history and yet as we read it,
it is as up-to-date as tomorrow morning's newspaper.
A devotion introduction for April
It hardly needs to be said that the place to begin reading a book is at the beginning. Still, many people have the habit of reading the last chapter of a book first. But if you try that with the Bible, you will become very confused indeed. The best place to begin with it is at the beginning. There are, however, many who find it difficult to begin with Genesis. They are thrown off by the language, which they find to be a bit stiff and somewhat antiquated, especially if they are reading one of the older Bible translations.
Others are discouraged because they bring to the study of this book certain immature concepts about God and the Bible, which they have retained from their childhood. I call these "teddy bear" ideas. Most of us slept with a teddy bear when we were little but discarded it when we grew up. But unfortunately we have not always discarded the "teddy bear" ideas we had as boys and girls about God and the Bible but instead have carried them over into adult life. When we impose these teddy bear ideas upon the Scriptures, we discover that the Bible has a tendency to turn us off and that the book becomes dull and uninteresting to us.
Still others come to Genesis rather prejudiced by the widespread rejection of this book as unscientific or primitive in its concepts. So they read the book, especially the first chapters, with a sense of distaste. They read it simply to be informed about a book that is widely known. But they are already prejudiced against it, and consequently they never really see what is here.
I would like to suggest that we attempt to read this book as though we have never read it before, to carefully note what is said and what is not said. We must remember that Genesis is the first chapter of the story that ends with the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the declaration of the way God has found to obtain the release of human life from despair and death and to bring it into power, excitement, and grace. In other words, the God of Genesis is the God of the rest of the Bible.
It is a completely false idea to assume that the God of Genesis is different from the God found in the rest of the Bible, to view Him as an austere, stern, harsh, rather remote Being--a Creator only--whose attitude toward humanity is quite different from in the New Testament. But this is not true at all. The idea has come from people who have taken isolated texts from the Scriptures and used them to build a distorted picture of God. But you will find the grace of God shining through the book of Genesis as much as it does in the New Testament. The love of God, the compassion, the tenderness, the sweetness of God, are manifest as much in Genesis as they are anywhere else in the Bible.
If we read this book carefully, we will discover that the God of Genesis is undoubtedly the God of the rest of the Bible. In the New Testament, He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and all those who believe in Him; He exercises a father's heart. But our first glimpse of this same God is as the Creator. That is the way we are introduced to Him in the first chapter of this beginning book of the Bible.