Genesis is a book of beginnings: the origin of the universe, the birth of the human race, and the founding of the Hebrew nation. Yet this book is more than a record of origins. It provides the foundation for many of the great themes so prominent throughout the Old and New Testaments. Indeed, Genesis has long been foundational in the life and history of God’s people, especially when they came out of a life of slavery in Egypt and later out of a Babylonian culture steeped in pagan beliefs and behaviours.
Following the Exodus, Moses faced a formidable discipleship task. When the Hebrews arrived at Mt. Sinai, their worldview and lifestyle differed little from that of the neighbouring nations. God’s people needed not only salvation, but a total transformation if they were to be “a holy nation” (Ex. 19). They needed to be rooted in a radically different message than what they had heard in Egypt. They needed the foundational and transformative stories of Genesis that told them who God really was, who they were, and what God had saved them to be and do in the world. Thankfully, Genesis was, and still is transforming.