What does Genesis, chapters one through eleven in particular, teach pertaining to the world? Specifically speaking in regards to the natural world, human identity, human relationships, and civilization. In accordance with all that, how then could this affect your worldview today? What exactly does the bible say? How exactly can it shape the way we see life and are these conclusions about the world we live in today parallel with what the bible states as truth?
First of all, when referring to the natural world itself, we’re specifically talking about its fallen state. The world as we know it and as the bible states, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen 6:5), is wicked. See, when I look at the world I see exactly what Genesis 1-3 describes as truth. I see a perfect world that has gone bad. I see the beauty of the formation of this world, the gloriousness of the trees swaying in the wind, the mountain tops overlooking the plains, the waters brushing up against the sand, and the wind whispering across the ground. But then I also see the fallen state of mankind.
I not only see it with my eyes, but I experience it too. With my eyes, hands, mind, heart. I’m a result of that fallen sin. I AM that fallen sin. My viewpoint is the same as any reader of Genesis 3 would picture the text in their mind. I see Satan everyday crawling about and tempting me to eat of the forbidden tree. I know what is right and I know what is wrong, but even with that for-knowledge of good and evil, I am a sinner and therefore I eat of that forbidden tree time and time again. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). The Lord created us in His image, and in His likeness.
Therefore we were without fault, without wickedness, without sin. Genesis describes the mighty power of God, His love and sovereignty, His grace and mercy. In other words, we’re shown the importance and value of the Lord Himself. Therefore, if we are made in the image of this almighty, all loving, omnipotent Creator, then we too must be of great value and worth. That being said, this shapes my world view towards many different things, one of those in particular being abortion. If we are of such grand qualities, then we must protect and cherish every single image bearer. Having accounted for all that Genesis 1 describes, I’d venture to say that abortion is a smack in the face to God Himself. How dare we take it upon ourselves to decide which image bearers of the Lord live and which die. Though once again, this is yet another result of how we allow that serpent to persuade us to eat of the tree that leads to death. Now, we must look at where and how human relationships tie in.
We’ve talked an awful lot about man. What if we bring woman into the picture? How exactly do they fit together? Well first of all when we look at scripture we see that it is written, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:22). This conveys a few truths. First of all, woman was taken from the side of man. This would mean, A, she is to be equal to and treated as so for she was taken from man’s side. B, she was taken from man to be his helper. And C, she was to be his wife and as it is stated soon after, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Why was woman taken from man’s rib? I believe that nothing in scripture is random, and so therefore I believe that it is to indeed signify that she was to be considered “next to” man in every aspect of life such as marriage, parenting, and as a helper.
That being said, she was in fact as scripture states to be a helper. Also, as it is strongly influenced throughout scripture, she was to be his wife, and he her husband, and the two would once again become “one flesh”. How about civilization? What does Genesis say about the human development? Our advancement as a species? Well, Genesis has very much to say about our growth as a whole. In fact in Genesis 11 the Lord says “Come let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Gen. 11:7). And so after He had done this, He scattered them among the earth and spread them out far and wide. This causes me to believe and understand several truths yet again. First of all, I believe that at this separating of the people at the Tower of Babel, is how we came to know different ethnicities such as Asians, Africans, Spanish, English, etcetera. I also believe that after the flood the atmosphere and climate were much different.
Which would also compensate for certain physical aspects of the different ethnicities as well, having been spread to different climatic areas of the world. And also, with the human existence in general, I believe that we started with Adam and Eve, and given thousands of years, we’ve thus reached our current population. Given the previous truths of scripture, as well as the current world standings, I’d say these truths represent a very high understanding of our world. God has blessed us, we have fallen. God has made us in His image, we have taken it upon ourselves to depict the value of that image. God has given us relationships to glorify Himself through us, we have created our own mindset to decide for ourselves who is equal and who is not. Last, but not least, we have grown immensely over time. Starting with two, and reaching over 7 billion.