In the beginning . . . there was nothing but God. In what universe God existed we won’t know until we meet Him and He tells us.
But then He spoke . . . and all creation came into being. He spoke by His Word, and His Word was Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John is unequivocal, nothing came into being but that it came into being by Jesus. And it was good. Nothing bad, rotten, or evil existed. And then He created Man. And thus began the path of History as we know it.
How long it took for man to mess up the perfection of the Garden of Eden is unknown. Hours, days, months? All we know is that in one momentously bad decision everything changed. Everything except God’s love for mankind. From Genesis to Revelation, the glorious constant of God’s love for humanity overwhelms everything else, even the gross destructiveness of evil.
Even the act of kicking Adam and Eve out of the Garden manifested His love; if while in a state of sin they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Life there would be no hope of redemption, they’d remain in an eternal state of evil. By their eviction from the Garden they were given the promise of redemption.
Genesis describes the decent of man from a state of grace to the depths of depravity, all the while God continuously calls them to return to His side. It is the same today. So many people think they know what’s best for their own good without consideration of history. It is difficult at best to know where you are if you don’t know where you’ve been had how you got there. Reading the Bible from cover to cover puts all of history into focus, and allows us today to better understand why this world is the way it is, in all its shame and its glory.
Time after time, story after story, Genesis depicts man’s wayward travel. At one point evil so predominated civilization God had to take the few redeeming people, Noah and his family, and wipe out all living creatures and start over, cleansing the world with a flood, and giving mankind another chance. Sure, it didn’t take long for man to ruin it again, but God’s love continued unabated. The redemptive power of God as documented through the lives of people like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, continued through His revelation in the flow of history. An amazing number of times God embraced His people, and without fail so quickly after returning to Him they would again slide away. Near countless times, as read through Genesis, Exodus, Judges, the books of Samuel and Kings, God’s unfailing call to blessing and liberation is depicted. He vowed to His people prior to entry into the Promised Land that life would be perfect, no poverty, no diseases, but only the best of times and a protected existence, if only they would be obedient. It bears repeating the description of His blessing promised in Deuteronomy 28:2 ff.
“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. “The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. “The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. “So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you. “The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. “The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”
Those were the blessing promised, conversely the curses promised were as abundant as the blessings! And yet time after time, promising to be faithful, they would fall away, each time to a worse state than the last.
In reading the books of the Old Testament we can marvel not only at God’s overwhelming power of love and faithfulness, but man’s proclivity to disobedience and evil. It is too easy for us to chastise them for such continuous failures, but we kind of mirror that behavior ourselves. Even those of us who know better, who have been touched to the very heart by God’s love and the power of His resurrection through the blood of the Lamb and the filling of the holy Spirit, find it amazingly easy to stumble on occasion and fail Him.
But it is the knowledge of His promises made from the beginning to all His creation, not to abandon us to our own devices but empower us with His Spirit, that gives us encouragement to return to Him in humility. And we only know that by reading His Word.
It is by knowing all that transpired, from the spark of Genesis all the way through the glorious conclusion of Revelation, that we maintain our encouragement, and keeps us focused on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Knowing the full history described in the entirety of the Scriptures is an exhortation to know He will always remain faithful to His promises.