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The New Living Translation breathes life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages, changing lives as the words speak directly to people’s hearts. Tyndale House Publishers
EVERY STORY has a beginning. The Bible begins with God. At the very beginning of this story, God created the universe and put everything in order, forming all of the planets, stars, and galaxies and setting them in motion. On earth, he created abundant varieties of living creatures. And he made the crown of his creation in his own image, his vice-regents: humans
Creation isn't the only beginning recorded in the Bible, though. There is also the more tragic story of the beginning of sin and death. Adam and Eve, the humans whom God placed over his creation, chose to disobey him and shattered its perfection. This tragedy soon led to others, such as Cain murdering his brother Abel in a jealous rage. And ultimately, sin became so rampant and pervasive that God decided to begin once again. He chose Noah, the only righteous man left on earth, to be the patriarch of a fresh beginning for humanity. But even Noah was vulnerable to sin, and his descendants showed that the sin problem was still very real and in need of a solution.
How would God continue his rescue plan for humanity? Would he need to begin again after the tower of Babel?
PEOPLE & CULTURE
* Adam and Eve. God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden to rule on his behalf. They worked hard at cultivating the ground and managing the affairs of the Garden, and they enjoyed communion with God there. But they chose to disobey God's one command, and through them sin entered the world. They were banished from the Garden, and their fellowship with God was broken. But God immediately set into motion his plan to bring humanity back into fellowship with him—this is the story of the entire Bible.
* Noah. By the time of Noah, sin and wickedness were so rampant that God was actually sorry he had ever created humans (Gen 6:7). But Noah was a righteous man, and God chose to save him from the destruction that was planned for the rest of humanity. Noah and his family became a new beginning for humanity.
* Language and Culture. After Noah's sons populated the earth again, there was a unified language and culture throughout the world. But this unity led to pride and a sense that humans didn't need God. As a result, God caused them to be divided by different languages and to be scattered around the world. Different cultures began to emerge from the different language groups and regions.
1 Garden of Eden God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when he made them in his image. The Bible doesn't tell us exactly where Eden was located, except for a few clues that are difficult to decipher in Genesis 2:10-14.
2 Mountains of Ararat Noah's boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, in modern-day Turkey (Gen 8:4). From here his sons and their descendants spread out to build new nations.
3 Babel The tower of Babel was built in the fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in modern-day Iraq.
* Beginnings. Here we find the beginnings of the universe, the earth, humanity, sin, and God's plan of salvation. Genesis teaches us that the earth is well-made and good; people are special to God and unique; God creates and sustains all life; and God deals with sin swiftly and with justice.
* Sin. When people choose to disobey God's plan for living, they are choosing to sin. And sin ruins people's lives. Genesis shows that living God's way can be rewarding and makes life fulfilling.
* Promises. God has promised to help and protect his people. He made a covenant with Noah that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood and gave a wonderful sign for us to remember his promise: the rainbow. God always keeps his promises.
BOOKS IN THIS SECTION
AUDIENCE: The people of Israel
PURPOSE: To record God's creation of the world and his desire to have people worship him
DATE WRITTEN: Approximately 1450-1410 B.C.
WHERE WRITTEN: In the wilderness during Israel's wanderings, somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula
A. The Beginning of Creation
We sometimes wonder how our world came to be. But here we find the answer. God created the earth and everything in it, and made humans like himself. Although we may not understand the complexity of just how he did it, it is clear that God did create all life. This shows not only God's authority over humanity, but his deep love for all creation.
The Account of Creation
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
3 Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day" and the darkness "night."
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
6 Then God said, "Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth." 7 And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8 God called the space "sky." And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.
9 Then God said, "Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear." And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground "land" and the waters "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came." And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.
14 Then God said, "Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth." And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.
20 Then God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind." 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth."
23 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.
24 Then God said, "Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals." And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground."
27 So God created human beings* in his own image.
In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground."
29 Then God said, "Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life." And that is what happened.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day
2:1 So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested* from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
4 This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.
B. The Beginning of Humanity
Learning about our ancestors often helps us under stand ourselves. The stories of Adam and Eve in the Garden, followed by the tragic story of their two sons Cain and Abel, explain the sin and suffering in our world and help us to live our lives in reliance on God and his promises.
1. ADAM AND EVE
Adam and Eve, our first ancestors, were the climax of God's creation—the very reason God made the world. But they didn't always live the way God intended. Through their mistakes, we can learn important lessons about the way God wants us to live. Adam and Eve teach us much about the nature of sin and its consequences.
The Man and Woman in the Garden GENESIS 2:4b-25
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. 6 Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. 7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person.
8 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9 The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. 11 The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. 12 The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. 14 The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16But the Lord God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die."
18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 "At last!" the man exclaimed.
"This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.'"
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
The Man and Woman Sin
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?"
2 "Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," the woman replied. 3 "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'"
4 "You won't die!" the serpent replied to the woman. 5 "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil."
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man* and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He replied, "I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked."
11 "Who told you that you were naked?" the Lord God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?"
12 The man replied, "It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it."
13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, "What have you done?"
"The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That's why I ate it."
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike* your head, and you will strike his heel."
16 Then he said to the woman,
"I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."
17 And to the man he said,
"Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return."
Paradise Lost: God's Judgment GENESIS 3:20-24
Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
22 Then the Lord God said, "Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!" 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
2. CAIN AND ABEL
The tragic story of Cain and Abel shows how dramatically sin had affected humanity. Less than a generation after being banished from the Garden of Eden, jealousy leads to murder.
Cain Murders Abel
Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, "With the Lord's help, I have produced a man!" 2 Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel.
When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. 3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain pre sent ed some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
6 "Why are you so angry?" the Lord asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master."
8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, "Let's go out into the fields." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.
9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, "Where is your brother? Where is Abel?"
"I don't know," Cain responded. "Am I my brother's guardian?"
10 But the Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground! 11 Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother's blood. 12 No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth."
Excerpted from Chronological Life Application Study Bible Copyright © 2012 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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