As you read the Bible cover to cover, you will find that God uses different genres such as history, poetry, prophecy, dialogue and narrative. Within each of these various writing skills of composition such as the form, style and subject matter.
The human authors God used came from a variety of backgrounds … education, family and level of society. Moses was highly educated in the courts of Egypt, yet shepherded sheep for forty years before he was qualified to lead Israel. David was a shepherd and then a military commander before he became king. Solomon was a king’s son, born to reign as king. Elisha was a farmer before he became a prophet. Peter was a fisherman before he became an apostle. Paul was a highly educated, strict Pharisee before he became an apostle. Often the style of writing included the human author’s environment such as the condition of Israel, the political stability such as how good or depraved the king was and how far they had sunk into idolatry as well as the condition of the priesthood and prophets, etc.
Another point is that at times a Bible Book explains what the Book is about before going far into the Book. Take the Gospel of John as an example. Chapter one verses one to eighteen is the prologue. John shows his intent in these verses. When you get to chapter twenty verses thirty to thirty-one he says the Book is written that readers might believe whom Jesus is. He starts off saying what he is writing about, then he writes about Jesus and ends by calling for faith in Jesus. Now consider the style Moses uses in Genesis.
1) The relationship between Genesis chapters one, two and three.
(1) Chapter one. The first verse is a statement.
Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This is what the theologians call an “Independent Clause”. It is a standalone verse. It is a declaration of the fact of an “absolute creation” by God. What follows in chapter one flows out of this statement (verse one). Chapter one verse two gives us an understanding of the earth when God started to create, and until He formed the earth into the present world. What follows from verse three to verse thirty-one informs us of the creation of everything from our planet to all of the universe (or more). On each of the six days God takes us through what He did, culminating in the creation of man. What has God done? He has created, apart from that outside of the planet, a world in which the man He created may live, procreation, work the planet, have union with God and ultimately give God all the pleasure and glory through his existence! So, by the time we get to the sixth day, God has a facility we call earth in which man may live in comfort, with everything he needs for survival at his disposal. Look at:
Ge 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Note the two phrases Moses uses …
(i) all that he had made.
(ii) it was very good.
As humans it is incomprehensible to grasp the absolute delight, happiness and pleasure in the heart of God as He viewed His creativity … especially that of our planet with all the trees and foliage, the sea, land and sky animals, the seas, rivers, damns and land with all its mountains and valleys as well as the human being. Chapter one deals with all of creation, which includes:
Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
We shall return to all the verses I am using, but for now, God tells us through the pen of Moses that He chose to create the human being which would resemble Him in image and likeness. Many have written much about what this means, yet for our purpose, here we see …
(a) Moral and ethical likeness. God is holy and man is created holy (sinless).
(b) Lordship and reign. Man is appointed to be God’s vice regent to care for His creation by ruling every aspect of life on the planet and the planet.
(c) Procreation and utilizing the earth. The concept of “being fruitful and increasing in number” means having babies who grow up to have babies, etc.
Man is mandated through this to fill the earth and by so doing he would bring the earth under his rule (subdue it). This is all part of Genesis chapter one.
(2) Chapter two. Where chapter one provides the big picture, chapter two zooms into one specific aspect of creation and that is mankind. Some people wrongly see two different creations. Rather chapter one provides a general overview of all of creation with chapter two focusing on the human being. In fact this is exactly what Moses writes! Look at this …
Ge 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
Ge 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
These verses refer to the creation of Genesis chapter one.
Ge 2:4 When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Chapter 2 onwards refers to how God created the human being. The difference between man and the rest of the animal kingdom is that man has a soul … “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”. Remember the “image and likeness” of chapter one. A spiritual being is able to be moral and ethical, living life as a carbon copy of God’s holiness. He is able to communicate, relate, enjoy, work, rule, obey and carry out instructions. God gives this man a probationary command in chapter two verses sixteen to eighteen. Obedience was required. Before the woman was created, man was lonely, so God made one like him to be a “helper suitable for him”. Man lived with this helper in a marriage union described in verses twenty-four to twenty-five. Briefly we are told that chapter one provides a snap shot of all of creation whilst chapter two provides a snap shot of the human race. It is important to grasp this.
(3) Chapter three. God created a planet suitable for the human race to live and thrive in. He set a specific boundary for man not to cross, yet he does. This third chapter is the most devastating documentation to which all of mankind’s problems can refer backwards to. Into a beautiful, holy environment where God met man in the splendor of the Garden of Eden … sin came causing man to break fellowship with God, lose his innocence, dying spiritually, being cast from God’s presence to endure hardship and pain as sin ravishes every relationship and means of existence, and ultimately dying physically. This curse of man is passed onto to every child born from these our first parents. There is no hope because man cannot do anything about this condition of depravity. Yet in the face of hopelessness, God promises a Messiah in chapter three verse fifteen.
Thank You, Father, that although our forefather sinned and passed on this terrible nature to us, Jesus reversed the curse by becoming a curse for us. Amen.