Versions of Bible quoted: New International Version.

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Genesis 1-11 Essay

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Genesis 1-11 Essay

Versions of Bible quoted: New International Version.

Introduction

The book of Genesis in the Bible contains so many teachings. Chapters 1-11 contain teachings about the natural world, the human identity, human relationships and civilization. In this paper, I shall examine each of these teachings according to what these particular chapters teach and how each of them personally affects my lifestyle.

The Natural World

In the book of Genesis, chapters 1-11 reaffirm the notion that all living things and all creation in its entire splendor are good. Chapter also reveals the fact that all creatures were created by God, and he is the source of life. As the bible says: “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good…”[1] In chapter 1, all the creatures are created in their own days, and God Himself acknowledges the goodness of every one of them. God uses the earth as the material from which man and all other creatures are fashioned. God gives dominion over all creatures and all forms of creation to man. Man therefore becomes the custodian of creation. Genesis chapter 3 reveals the presence of sin in the world. It also shows us that sin displeases God and turns Him away from us. Adam and Eve are deceived by one of God’s creations to commit sin, Satan had already started to infiltrate into the minds of God’s creatures.[2]

The Human Identity

Chapters 1 to 11 of the book of Genesis contain various illustrations of the identity of the human being. Among the many references, one stands out as the one that mostly defines the human being, the bible text that says that man is created in God’s own image. In Genesis God says, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”[3] This verse confirms the identity of man as a special creation, formed in the image and likeness of God. Man therefore has a similar nature to God. Having been created by God we are supposed to submit to him as the ultimate authority over all that is created. Chapters one and two also show that man was authorized to use all that is created wisely.[4] Man, like all other creatures is also good meaning that they possess the goodness received from God regardless of their shortcomings In the same chapter, God blesses man and woman and sends them forth to continue in the work of creation.

Human Relationships

The first chapter of Genesis says, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”[5] From this verse, both man and woman are equal before God since all of them are created in God’s image. All humankind therefore has equal dignity regardless of gender. Genesis Chapter two also reveals the functions of both men and women. It outlines the different roles women and men are required to play and their duties and responsibilities. This chapter also confirms that man and woman are made for each other and God created the woman to be man’s companion and helper that is why she is created from man. Chapter 4 also talks about the way humans should relate to each other. God is greatly displeased with Cain’s treatment of Abel and punishes him for killing his brother. Here God’s message is that man should always treat others with kindness and love. Chapter 9 shows that God has given man power above all the creatures and that man can use God’s creatures to advance humankind. In this chapter, God says, “Everything that moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants I now give you everything.”[6]

Civilization

In Genesis chapter 4, we are told that Cain and his offspring made the first city through which they flourished. Cain’s civilization however, was not built under God’s guidance and it produced a wicked generation. Genesis chapter 5 shows god’s destruction of the wicked generation that had sprung from Cain’s civilization.[7] In chapter 11, the people came together and started building a city with a tower reaching the heavens. Their actions were however not pleasing to God and he confused their languages and the building of the tower ceased. This also represents a case where civilization is founded against God’s will and which end up in destruction.[8]

The teachings of these Chapters reveal to me that each of God’s creation is a pleasing reminder of God’s love. That as a human being I have a duty to respect every human being, animal and the environment I live in since God Himself saw that everything was good. I am also called to see everybody as an equal to me and to appreciate all of God’s creation. It also reminds me that I have been given dominion over all the creatures of the earth. This means that I shall not treat other beings wrongly but I should rather take proper care of all of God’s creation.

Chapter one talks about man being created in the image of God. The message of these words enlightens me to know that I am special before God’s eyes, and that as one created in His likeness am supposed to act as if I were He. As a reflection of who God truly is, I am compelled to act with love, care, kindness and showing concern for my fellow humankind. I am supposed to live as one who understands that I am special and that every other human being is equally special.

Genesis’ teaching about human relationships reminds me that I must acknowledge the sanctity of the marriage as an institution blessed and sanctified by God. This implies that in my conduct I should respect my body and that of other people and that I should treat my marriage partner with due respect and love. I also understand the fact that both men and women are equal and that all genders should be treated with love and respect.

Bibliography

Calvin, John, Alister McGrath, and J. I. Packer. 2001. Genesis. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=1059505

Toy, John. 1989. Towards understanding Genesis 1-11. Dean & Chapter of York.