KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (Genesis 3:22-23)
The first two chapters of Genesis describe the perfect world created by God and put under the stewardship of the man, who was created with a moral nature patterned after God’s own. This included the freedom to reason, and to choose between good and evil. The third chapter of Genesis continues the narrative in the Garden, describing the temptation of Eve by the serpent, and the disobedience of Adam and Eve in partaking of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At that point, the nature of human beings shifted from good to evil — the terrible consequence of an event theologians refer to as the “fall of man.” The chapter continues with a description of the punishments meted out to the serpent, the woman, and the man, along with the impact on all of creation. Included in this chapter is the first Messianic prophecy of the Bible, offering an initial glimmer of hope in a reference to Jesus Christ, who would ultimately deliver the death-blow to Satan.
In chapter 4, we read of the births of Cain and Abel, the first two people born into this world. An account is given of their offerings to God, and Cain’s jealous murder of his brother when Abel’s offering was accepted while his was rejected. God ordained that as punishment, Cain would be cursed, banished to a life of homelessness, and driven away from his agricultural vocation. This chapter concludes with a record of Cain’s descendants.
Chapter 5 closes out the history of Adam, giving a list of his descendants. The genealogical record begins with the assertion that Adam’s son Seth was born “in his [Adam’s] own likeness” rather than “in the likeness of God” as Adam was created, thus indicating that successive generations were born with a fallen nature. Notable in this genealogical record is the brief commentary on Enoch, whose testimony of intimate fellowship with God brought about his translation. The chapter concludes with the introduction of Noah, whose account is developed in the following chapters.
As a result of man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, all the descendants of Adam and Eve are born under the consequences that God ordained. Still, these sad chapters of Genesis include a bright note of hope in the person of the “seed of the woman,” the Redeemer who would come to deliver mankind from the bondage of sin.