MAIN TOPIC - THE BEGINNINGS
Genesis is the book of beginnings. The word Genesis means "the origin, source, creation, or coming into being of something." . Genesis describes such important beginnings as the Creation, the fall of man, the promise of redemption, and the early years of the nation of Israel as the vessel He will use to bring salvation to the world.
The Hebrew name for the First Book of Moses was originally Sefer Maaseh Bereshith, Book of Creation. Its current Jewish name is Bereshith (In the beginning) which is the first Hebrew word in its opening sentence. Bereshith is also the name of Chapters 1:6,8, the first of the fifty-four weekly Torah Readings (Sedrahs) on Sabbath mornings.
The English translation of the Hebrew word, Genesis, is a name borrowed from the Greek. It signifies the original, or generation: fitly is this book so called, for it is a history of originals-- the creation of the world, the entrance of sin and death into it, the invention of arts, the rise of nations, and especially the planting of the church, and the state of it in its early days. It is also a history of generations-- the generations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc., not endless, but useful genealogies. The beginning of the New Testament is called Genesis too Mt. 1:1, Biblos geneseos, the book of the genesis, or generation, of Jesus Christ.
It is not the purpose of the author of Genesis to give an elaborate account of the creation; only a single chapter is devoted to the subject; just a bare outline containing a few fundamental facts, while thirty-eight chapters are given to an account of the history of the chosen family.
THEME - THE BEGINNING OF SALVATION HISTORY
The main theme of Genesis is Mans sin, and the initial steps taken for his redemption by a Divine covenant, made with a chosen race whose early history is here portrayed.
The story of God and man, sin and grace, wrath and mercy, covenant and redemption begins in the Book of Genesis. These themes are repeated often throughout the rest of the Bible. As the Book of Revelation is the climax and conclusion of the Bible, so the Book of Genesis is the beginning and essential seed-plot of the Bible.
Revelation of Gods word (or will) is based on:
The biblical title of the Mosaic writings most usually employed is Ha Torah: "the Law."
This is taken from yarah, "to teach," or "direct:" - "the Law of the Lord," to assert its true origin and authority; and "the Law of Moses," to denote the mediatorial agency by which it was given to mankind.
The common conventional title, "the Pentateuch," is a combination of the Greek words, meaning "a volume," and "five;" "the Five-fold Book;" which corresponds with the Rabbinical appellation of Chamishah Chuymeshe hattorah, "the Five Fifths of the Law."
The existence of Laws in the book of Genesis and Exodus is evident, though there is no formal record of their delivery. Compare Ex. 18:16
Doubtless some were made known to mankind, as such by God:
But, side by side with these special Divine communications, the Babylonian laws were codified in the age of Abraham.
In AD 1901, the Code of Amraphel (Khammurabi), Gen. 14:1, was discovered in Susa by M.J. De-Morgan. The latest date for this code is 2139 BC
Eight hundred years before Moses, these laws governed the peoples from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea, and from Persia to the Mediterranean and were in force throughout Canaan.
Hence, we have now before us both codes; and are in a good position to answer Jehovahs question found in Deuteronomy 4:8, "What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"
We see the laws of Khammurabi operating in Genesis in the following instances:
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE
I. 1:1-2:3. The Introduction.
I. Gen. 1:1-2:3 THE INTRODUCTION
II. Gen. 2:4-50:26 THE ELEVEN "GENERATIONS"*
(2:4-4:26) "THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH"
(6:9-9:29) NOAH Mankind in General
(10:1-11:9) THE SONS OF NOAH
*There are 14 generations altogether in the Bible: 11 In Genesis, 1 in Num. 3:1 , and 1 in Matt. 1:1