One of the disturbing trends of Progressive Christianity that has trickled over to mainstream Christianity is the idea that we only need to focus on the New Testament. After all, that’s when Jesus came and freed us from the Law of Moses in the Old Testament.
While yes, grace did replace the sacrificial system and free us up to enjoy bacon and shrimp, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the Old Testament.
Instead, we need to always remember that the entire Bible—Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, meant to be applied to our lives.
Over the past year, as we’ve been focusing on foundational theological principles, I’ve become especially aware of the importance of the book of Genesis. While many choose to write it off as irrelevant so they can believe worldly ideas, the fact is that the book of Genesis is essential to basic Christian theology.
1. In Genesis, we see that God created the world.
Genesis 1 recounts the event.
We cannot study Who God is without acknowledging that He is the Creator of everything and everyone.
Every part of our universe began in the mind of God, and then He brought it into being.
Throughout the Bible, it is stated repeatedly that God created the world. It starts in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
2. In Genesis, we are introduced to the Trinity.
It’s right there in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’”
The “us” and “our” are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— the Triune God introduced right there at creation.
Throughout the rest of the Bible, we see references to God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit being present and active during creation. (John 1:3, John 1:10, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2, Psalm 104:30, Genesis 1:2, Psalm 33:6)
3. Genesis tells us that God created male and female.
Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
No matter what theories are popular in society, God created two genders: male and female.
4. Genesis tells us that man was created in the image of God.
Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’”
The phrase “in the image of God” refers to our moral-intellectual-spiritual nature. It separates us from the animal kingdom and includes our ability to sense and have a relationship with God, our free will, our ability to choose right and wrong, and the fact that even after our bodies die, our souls go on for eternity.
Other Scriptures, like James 3:9, go on to show that all of Adam and Eve’s descendants (all human beings) are still image-bearers. We all still possess the qualities described above.
5. Genesis tells us why we were created—to have a relationship with God.
Why did God create humanity in His image?
So that we could choose to have a relationship with Him.
We were designed to have a relationship with God on earth and throughout eternity.
Because man was born with free will, we can choose to love God and have a personal relationship with Him or reject Him.
Being created "in the image of God" means that we can make the right moral choices. Even though we were born sinners, we can learn God's ways and live by them.
Because we are created in the image of God, we have a purpose. We were created to have a personal relationship with God and fulfill the destiny He designed for us.
Knowing that our soul is eternal shows us that the choices, mainly the choice of whether or not we accept Christ as our Savior, will affect our tomorrow.
Most importantly, because we are created in the image of God, men and women can respond to a unique personal relationship with God that reflects His love and character.
We can choose to love God, obey Him, and love other people.
We are not just evolved animals with higher intelligence. Human beings are unique life forms created with souls that will last for eternity. This essential element of our existence gives our lives meaning, purpose, and value.
6. Genesis tells us how this relationship was broken when sin entered the world.
Turning to Genesis 3, we read how Satan deceived Adam and Eve, causing them to willfully disobey God. With that one act of disobedience, sin entered the world.
Because God is completely holy and unable to sin, their intimate personal relationship of walking and talking with God in the cool of the evening could no longer continue.
Through sin, death entered the world along with pain, suffering, a loss of innocence, toil and turmoil, and even death. As descendants of Adam and Eve, each one of us is born with a sinful nature.
Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (ESV)
Because of sin, we are all destined to die.
But it doesn’t end there.
7. Throughout the rest of Genesis, we see God taking the initiative to restore the relationship between God and man.
It begins in Genesis 3:21, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
Later, in Genesis 12, we meet Abram and see God call him to leave everything and follow Him.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”
We see God fulfill His promise and give Abraham and Sarah a son, Isaac. We meet Isaac’s children, Jacob and Esau, and see how Jacob fathered twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel.
Throughout the rest of the Old Testament, we read how the entire nation of Israel came from this family.
From the nation of Israel came the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God, sent into the world to pay the price for our sins and restore our relationship with God.
That’s why the book of Genesis, and for that matter the entire Old Testament is important. From beginning to end, it tells not just humanity’s origins but the origins of the Gospel message.
It shows us God, as the Creator, but also God as the Author of Salvation.
It’s essential to every Christian’s knowledge of God, salvation, and the Bible.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life. When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."