Introduction to Genesis 1-11 (Part 4)

This material is an UNOFFICIAL study guide to Kenneth A. Mathews, The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26 (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1996). ISBN 978-0-8054-0101-1.


PART 4 – Theology of Genesis (pages 54-63)

Theology – the study of Theos, God. Many people look at Genesis as a book of early human history, or myth of how the world began. In reality, Genesis is a text filled with the story of God’s interactions with the beginning of His creation. When we read the Bible with the understanding that it is primarily about God, it can change our view of ourselves and our world. We are God’s creations. Sin is a result of our disobeying God’s commands. Blessing and salvation comes from God, and not through anything we have done or can do. Today we will look at the promissory promises to the patriarchs: blessing, seed, and land. In the latter half we will touch on other aspects of theology that we find in Genesis: creation, life, sin, civilization and covenant.


Opening Discussion

I. Which translation did you read from this week and why?

II. What stood out to you in your daily devotions this week?

III. What stood out to you in the commentary reading?

IV. How has today’s reading changed your perspective on theology, the Bible or God?

V. Let us discuss the assigned reading, use the following questions and/or open to questions and comments.

Points to Consider – From today’s readings (pages 54-63) answer the following:


A. Intro (page 54)

I. “Although the __________ of this volume is on the theology of Genesis 1-11, it cannot be discussed __________ of chaps. 12-50 as though the two exist __________. We do not have two theologies but one __________ __________ regarding God as beneficent __________ and __________ whose election of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the nuclear __________ of divine intention for the __________ human family first announced at __________ (1:28).”

II. What link does Israel’s “particularistic past” have with the salvation of the entire human race?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

III. What is our only access to Genesis’s theology?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


B. Patriarchal Promises (pages 54-60)

I. What is the pivotal episode in Genesis? How does it change the narrative?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. To whom does God repeat the “patriarchal promises”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________
d. ______________________

III. What is the key verse of the entire book of Genesis? Why?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

IV. Blessing – What are the three elements/divine promises for Abraham?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

V. What is promised to all nations “by the Abrahamic lineage”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

VI. “God in effect __________ a __________ people, not named in the extensive __________ of __________ (10:1-32) and yet also in __________ with the world of __________ by virtue of Terah’s __________ from Shem.”

VII. What event explains both the “diverse nations and the redemptive necessity of Abram”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

VIII. What does the literary thread of the genealogies do?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

IX. Where is “the blessing for all humanity” presupposed? Where is it reiterated?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________

X. According to Genesis Adam had __________ sons, Noah had __________ sons, and Terah had __________ sons. From Adam to Noah there are __________ generations, and from Noah to Abraham there are __________ generations.

XI. “But the very __________ of the __________ and the __________ language of the __________ in the patriarchal __________ (12:3) requires the __________ provided in early Genesis—human __________ and its __________, curse and death (3:14-19).”

XII. “‘Curse’ is a repeated motif…” Who or what are the first two to get cursed by God?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________

XIII. Where are the next three instances of ‘curse’ found?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XIV. How does Genesis 5 show us the “blessing” and the “curse”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________

XV. What is God free to do? What did He do for Adam and Eve?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XVI. Seed – How does the concept of “blessing and curse” play out in Genesis, which affects the rest of the Old Testament?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XVII. How is the “seed” element used in Genesis 1?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XVIII. How is the “seed” element used in Genesis 3?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XIX. How does this antipathy play out in the rest of Genesis?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XX. What is unique wit the “Jacob-Esau rivalry” compared to previous excluded and appointed lines?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXI. The ‘seed’ and sibling-rivalry theme is first found between which two brothers? Who takes the place as “another ‘seed’”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXII. “The Ham-Canaanite dishonor is __________ at 9:__ even before the sordid incident that lead’s to Ham’s __________, implying that __________ from the ark Ham was __________ to be __________ from brothers.”

XXIII. What important nations does the Table of Nations show as decadents of Ham?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XXIV. Land – “The ‘earth’ is first described as an __________ __________ (1: __) that is specially prepared on the __________ day of __________ for the sustaining of __________ (1:__), after which it is the ‘earth’ of __________ (1: ____).”

XXV. What does God put in the ground? What does He make out of the ground? How do these two relate?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XXVI. What causes the God to “curse against the ‘ground’”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXVII. It which part of the primeval history is the “theme of earth/land is particularly dense? What is the situation on earth?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXVIII. The flood episode shows one crucial two-fold connection in regards to humanity with beasts and land. What is the connection?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXIX. How does the earth receive God’s persistent favor after the flood?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXX. What is the result of God’s response to the Tower of Babel?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXXI. How does the concept of “land/earth” relate to blessing “all the nations”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXXII. “While this promissory triad of __________, __________, and __________ is the thematic cord __________ the Book of Genesis, we find that the counterthemes of __________, __________, __________, and __________ are the literary-theological __________ for the promissory __________.”

XXXIII. Think back to the creation account in Genesis 1, and compare it with the episodes below. What parts of creation were reversed?
a. The Fall (3:1-24) – ________________________________________
b. The Flood (7:1-24) – _______________________________________
c. Expulsion from Eden (3:24), Cain’s Exile (4:16) & Scattering at Babel (11:9) – ____________________________________________

XXXIV. “But remarkably in each instance the grace of God supersedes earth’s wasteland or the just deserts of the sinner.” Explain.
a. The Fall – _______________________________________________
b. The Flood – ______________________________________________
c. Scattering at Babel – ______________________________________

XXXV. In order to bless the nations God creates a new nation, Israel. With this in mind where or in whom does the “hope of redemption reside”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXXVI. How does Jesus Christ accomplish the “blessing to the nations”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


C. God and His World (pages 60-61)

I. Describe God’s relationship with the world He created.
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. Describe God’s relationship with humans as His creations.
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


D. Human Life (page 61)

I. Describe humanity’s relationship with the rest of creation.
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. Describe humanity’s relationship with other humans.
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


E. Sin (pages 61-62)

I. Where did evil originate?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. When did evil come into the world?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

III. What is the result of sin and how does God deal with it?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

IV. How does sin change our “imago Dei” (made in the image of God)?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


F. Civilization (page 63)

I. Discuss the statement: “The arts and sciences are the invention ad discovery of human knowledge and are not divine in origin or nature.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

G. Covenant (pages 63-64)

I. In which passages can we find the “formal covenant declaration made by God”? What is the context of these declarations?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. What are the similarities between the Abrahamic and Noahic covenants?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________
d. ______________________
e. ______________________

III. What sets the Noahic covenants apart from the other covenants?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

IV. Through the Noahic covenant, what had God committed Himself to do?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


FOR NEXT WEEK

Please have “Interpreting Genesis” (pages 63-85) read and answer the questions. We will go through this together. Second reading of Genesis 1-11: please read in a different translation you are not too familiar with. Take notes on any new insights, a fresh understanding or questions you have.

CLOSE WITH PRAYER