Genesis is written around 1450 BC by Moses, in the Sinai wilderness.
In Hebrew, this book is called ‘Bereshith’, which means ‘in the beginning’, after the first words with which this book begins. In Greek it is called Genesis, which means ‘birth’, or ‘origin’, or ‘becoming’.
It is rightly the book of the beginning. We find the origin of all things in it. This book tells us, among other things, about the origins of heaven and earth, the institution of marriage and family, the first sin and, as a result, death, the first sacrifice, the judgment, the origins of nations, the root of the people of Israel, the covenant and the circumcision.
We will search in vain for the origin of God. God has no beginning. He is the eternal God Who was “in the beginning” (Jn 1:1; Psa 90:2).
All truths that appear in the following books of the Bible are already indicated in this book. A truth can be communicated directly, a truth can also be presented in pictures. Some examples of the first: creation, man and his fall into sin, the power of satan. Some examples of the second: salvation – God clothed man after his fall in sin with the skin of an animal, which refers to the substitute death of the Lord Jesus; the resurrection – in the history of Abraham and Isaac; the reign of a rejected Lord on the throne of the world – in the history of Joseph.
Strikingly beautiful is the way in which God personally makes Himself known to man in this book. Thus He comes to Adam in the cool of the evening (Gen 3:8), announces to Noah His intention about the flood (Gen 6:13) and visits Abraham and speaks with him (Gen 18:1,10-14). He does not use prophets or priests here, but He Himself comes into the confidentiality with which a man treats his friend. In this book we experience the living, tangible proximity of God to His creature.
Division of the book
Genesis can be divided into seven parts, according to the seven patriarchs that appear in it (other divisions are also possible):
1. Genesis 1-4 Adam
2. Genesis 5(:21) Enoch
3. Genesis 6-11 Noah
4. Genesis 12-23 Abraham
5. Genesis 24-26 Isaac
6. Genesis 27-36 Jacob
7. Genesis 37-50 Joseph