A Brief Case for Theology (Introduction to Genesis 1-11)

Before beginning our study through the first part of Genesis, I will give reason and explanation for the subtitle. Hopefully, seeing the first book of the Bible as an introduction to the Bible should not require much clarification; however, viewing it as an introduction to theology just might be another story. The first eleven chapters, often called “primeval history”, serve easily as a biblical introduction because nearly every major theme is first presented in them. Likewise, almost all primary doctrines of the Christian faith find their beginning in part one of Genesis. The scale and time covered by these brief chapters is so massive and so epic that there is clearly no individual human to serve as the primary protagonist. In fact, the estimated time covered in these chapters is much greater than the time covered throughout the remainder of the Bible (from Genesis 12 to the writing of Revelation). Because of this, we are forced to focus upon the ultimate protagonist of the entire Bible: God. After all, since God stood preeminent and eternally existent before anything was created, it is right that our study, and our very lives, would revolve entirely around Him.

This is why we must study theology. We do not study it for the sake of earning a degree in higher education. We do not even need to be concerned about being formally educated in theology at all. Our only concern should be that we accurately and biblically study theology to the best of our ability because theology is the study of God. The persistent lifelong, generation-spanning quest to know more of God is the heart of theology. It is a contradiction for a Christian to hate theology since that would mean the hatred of learning more of God. Likewise, it is impossible for a true Christian to never be theological as every topic concerning God falls within the realm of theology. If I speak of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I am talking about an aspect of psychology. Moreover, since I am speaking about psychology, the only question to ask is whether I know anything about psychology or not. The same is true with theology. Any conversation about God is theological by nature. The only question left to be asked is whether we are being orthodox or heretical.

Therefore, in order to conclusively define orthodox theology, we turn to the Bible, the revealed Word of God to humanity. The Bible is primarily theological in nature because, at its core, God is the hero, thesis, and goal of all Scripture. It is true that the Bible contains many differing styles of literature that can serve a variety of purposes. Wisdom literature like Proverbs can practically guide one to living a much more satisfying life. The poetry of the Psalms and the prose of Jonah and Esther can be endlessly studied by students of literature. Books like Joshua and Samuel give robust history of the nation of Israel. Even deep philosophical ponderings are present in books like Job and Ecclesiastes! However, though the Bible covers a myriad of topics and subjects, God eclipses them all. Though containing history and literature, it is not primarily a book of history or literature, but rather it is the book of God. And since the Bible is the inspired Word of God, it is the only definitive means by which we can come to know God more. Thus, we can go nowhere else to properly get to know God.

These first eleven chapters of Genesis, therefore, serve as the perfect introduction to both the Bible and to theology. As such, the central aim of this study will be to know more of God through the studying of Scripture. We will see how many of God’s attributes are first introduced to humanity, and how God intended humans to behave and relate to Himself, each other, and the world around us. Four monumental events that shaped all of human existence (Creation, Fall, Flood, and Babel) will be the primary focus, as God’s power, justice, love, wrath, and grace are displayed. My prayer, however, is that none of this will become mere knowledge for the sake of knowing, but rather that in knowing more of the character and attributes of God, we will be led to a deeper and more intimate love for Him. After all, this must always be our goal in studying Scripture: to know God more so that we may love Him all the more.

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