Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Genesis 1-12: The Beginning of Worldview Development

Genesis 1:1 - "In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth"

Yesterday we began looking at the subject of worldview development.  My wife Debi defined a Christian worldview as: "how we perceive, interpret, and respond to the world surrounding us." This is a fine definition to operate by as we expand and began to develop a Christian worldview.  The question is: from what base do we build a Christian worldview? Thankfully there is one section of the Bible from whence once builds their entire understanding of scripture and the world - Genesis 1-12. 

1. Genesis 1-2 Creation- Defines the Divine Origin of the Universe, Life and Humanity.  We also see God dealing with man in a Covenantal arrangement, whereby He gracefully gave man a period of time to carryout commands pertaining to management of the creation and propagation of the human race.  Man would either avail himself of the grace available to carry out the commands, or He would ignore God's revelation and choose to rely on his own opinion.  In developing your worldview, how you understand the beginning will determine how you'll understand the end. 

2. Genesis 3-5 Fall and Redemption- Defines the origin of sin and describes the devestating effects it would have on humanity.  Humanity's fall from relationship and fellowship with God was followed up by God offering a second covenant, a Covenant of grace, whereby God would slay two animals in Adam and Eve's place.  From Genesis 3 onward, mankind could only be saved by grace through faith in an innocent substitute - foreshadowing the redemption to be won by Jesus Christ.  So we clearly see the beginning (at least in history) of God's plan of salvation, spoken to Eve in Genesis 3:15 and building up to the full Covenant of grace spelled out in Genesis 3:20-21. This Covenant of Grace would be repeated in historical fashion through God's Covenants with Abraham and David, as well as His promise of the New Covenant in the Prophetic books.  Increasingly, the Bible tells us that the Covenant of Grace was to be paid for by Jesus Christ, who in his perfect life fulfilled the Covenant of works broken by Adam. 

3. Genesis 6-9 Worldwide Flood - Noah and his family are the tenth generation from Adam's bloodline.  God's judgment fell on the world by means of the Deluge simply known as "The Flood".  If the Fall in the Garden of Eden can be considered "Catastrophe #1", we could then term the Flood as the second Catastrophic event of human history.  God decided to start all over again with Noah and his family.  By the end of Genesis 9, the episode involving Noah's son Ham uncovering his nakedness would remind the reader that the sin problem is not due to man's environment as it is with the condition of his heart.  

4. Genesis 10-11 Babel and the Sovereign Distribution of the Nations   
It is in Genesis 11:1-9 where we see the Tower of Babel incident - marking the third catastrophic event of history.  God dispersed humanity by means of differing languages.  It was also from Babel where we see the beginnings of false religion.  In Genesis 10 we see the lineage of humanity traced from Noah's three sons:Shem, Ham and Japheth.  70 nations are derived from 70 men listed in this chapter.  These 70 nations would be Sovereignly arranged in accords to what God would reveal in Chapter 12 of Genesis.  Shem's bloodline is the focal point of Genesis 11, revealing the "scarlet thread of redemption" that brings its way into the particular family of Terah and particularly his son Abram.

5. Genesis 12 The Blessing of Salvation to be revealed through Abraham and His descendant(s)
As we noted earlier, the seventy nations listed in Genesis 10-11 were Divinely arranged around the prophetic destiny revealed to Abraham and his descendant(s). (Deuteronomy 32:6)  The reason I have descendant(s) spelled the way I do is to capture the three-fold fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham.  The first leg of that promise was to be fulfilled through the bringing about of the Nation of Israel in the Old Testament.  The second leg was to be chiefly fulfilled through the coming of Jesus Christ through the bloodline of the tribe of Judah in that nation. 

The cradle of Bethlehem, the cross of Calvary and the empty tomb were to be the chief activities accomplished by the "Seed" or "Descendant of Abraham" - Jesus Christ. When Christ ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent, the Church age was born, and the Gentiles are currently getting a spiritual foretaste of the Age to come as fellow heirs of Abraham's promise.  However the nation of Israel, though experiencing a hardening and spiritual blindness in this current Church age, has not been forsaken in God's prophetic planning. (Romans 11:1-36) The third leg of Abraham's Covenant of Genesis 12 will be fulfilled when Israel is restored at Christ's second coming.  Christ will reign upon the earth, giving Israel the chance to be the witness God called her to be among the nations. 

From these twelve chapters, the whole of the Bible and the whole Christian worldview has its start.  I would encourage the reader to make it their business to know these chapters, since everything we know about everything had their beginning in the text of Genesis 1-12. 

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