Exodus starts tomorrow. I wanted to take a moment today to look at back at Genesis for a moment. The word means 'beginning'. And so it is. It is the beginning of the world and the universe itself. The beginning of life. The beginning of sin. The beginning judgment (the Flood) and the new beginning afterwards. It is the beginning of the Hebrew people, and the beginning of God working with them. Every major doctrine and theme in the Bible has its beginning in Genesis. That is one reason why it is truly important to understand that Genesis is not simply poetic, and not allegory or mythical. The rest of the Bible and all of human history has its foundation in the events chronicled in this book. If this book of Genesis is not correct as read in a straightforward manner, then not only the rest of the Bible loses a good part of its meaning and validity, but so does the Christian understanding of history itself! Here are just a few of the things mentioned in Genesis which are integral to our understanding of God, man, sin, relationships, and so much else: 1. God is the creator 2. Man was originally sinless 3. Man and woman have different roles 4. Humans have dominion over nature 5. Animals are afraid of people 6. God will judge sin 7. Sin brings death 8. God had a plan to rescue people Himself 9. Basic elements of the law were known long before Moses. 10. God has initiated covenants with men. 11. God does not allow actions which He cannot use for the good of those who are His. 12. If a person belongs to God, God WILL discipline and raise him up. 13. God will do things HIS way in HIS time and any 'help' we try to give him only messes up an awful lot of things. 14. Sin is contagious, get close and its easy to get sucked in. 15. God's decisions and choices are not the same as man's. 16. God understands our questions and is willing to help us know the answer. 17. God honors those who honor Him. 18. God organizes the circumstances of our lives in order to raise us up and prepare us for the work He has for us to do. 19. God is not going to limit salvation to Abraham's descendents. There are more, but you get the idea. Genesis is the beginning of everything, not just the events of creation week. As such, it is THE foundational book of the Bible and should be read on its own terms, as historical narrative. Genesis is challenged constantly by non-Christians and even many Christians! But one of the reasons I'm here doing this Bible study is to say under NO uncertain terms that God knows how to communicate with us clearly and directly and unambiguously, and we can trust that. Genesis is telling the truth. Not the allegorical or mythical or 'spiritual' truth. The real truth; the 'it happened this way' truth. Don't be afraid of this book. In it God is revealed, and so is human nature. History is charted along the Christ line, and enough clues are given about the world's history geologically that we can look at the geologic record with eyes trained to look for God's truth and not man's opinions.