Genesis 1-2: Creation
Genesis 3: Exile from the garden
Genesis 4-5: Cain and Abel
Genesis 6-10: Noah
Genesis 11: Babel
Genesis 12: Abraham
All the problems found within these chapters boils down to the root of all evil: the love of money. Money in these chapters, however, is not necessarily coins, gold, or silver. Money could better be defined as anything that has perceived value. This could be something material like an apple or something immaterial like fame. Regardless, covetousness is the root issue in these 12 chapters, and if we expose the problem, we can learn to avoid it in our own lives.
One thing you can’t miss: Genesis does not begin with original sin but original goodness. The evil comes afterwards due to the love of money. Adam and Eve were good while they were naked; it wasn’t until they began the cycle of rivalry, competition, and self-reliance that their nakedness separated them from God. It is not God that does the separating. He is constantly open to a relationship with us. It was Adam and Eve who separated themselves, and this is demonstrated through trying to hide from God, passing the blame, and showing no remorse.
If we can abandon the story introduced in Genesis 3 of rivalry, lust, and covetousness, and reclaim Genesis 1-2, then we will no longer suffer separation from God. This is basically what Paul says in Romans 8: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). To leave behind this story, we must first recognize the lie that brings about this death. By death, I mean separation from God. As Jesus said, the original lie murdered Adam and Eve: “He was a murder from the beginning and does not stand in the truth…” (John 8:44). The lie was this: “You will not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). In other words, the lie was that trying to be like God through one’s own ability would not bring about death (separation from God).
This lie is deeper than you might think! Read again: “…and you will be like God…” This is said as if they weren’t already like God! This is really the lie in this passage because it is the insecurity that brings about the need for rivalry and competition which leads to violence. Adam and Eve were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The lie was that they needed to do something in order to attain to or maintain this status. The rest of the Bible is the story of men trying to do something to make their name great instead of depending upon God.
In Genesis 4, the story continues with rivalry between two brothers, two ways of life, and two ways of worship. But this rivalry also marks a progression of humanity from hunter gatherers to farmers. This brings about debates concerning land, borders, and territory, and it, as you can see, very quickly leads to violence. The story of Cain and Abel is more than a religious debate about appropriate sacrifices. It is also a discussion concerning the organization of civilization which boils down to the love of money which is the root of all evil.
Genesis 6 begins with a few verses about lust and covetousness which leads to very kind of evil. This results in a cataclysmic flood which covers the face of the earth and destroys everything in its path. This brings us back to Genesis 1 to the original state where the world was covered in water and the Spirit (Wind) of the Lord moved over the face of the waters. After the flood, this Wind appears again to dry the face of the earth and start over from the beginning; however, Noah immediately falls, and it is revealed that retributive justice is not the solution to man’s problems.
The tower of Babel episode was made possible by yet another advancement in humanity: the invention of the brick. This invention allowed for the mass construction of structures, store cities, temples, palaces, and larger walls. The brick is the very thing that Israel was tasked with making in Egypt. The invention of the brick, farming, and water travel would enable mankind to excel at a rate not seen before. Soon, population demands would lead to conflicts on a nationwide scale, and intimate rivalries would turn into multi-state conflicts. This leads to the pooling of resources to invent new ways of killing other humans. No wonder God stunted this progression in the Genesis 10 story.
Abraham was called by God in Genesis 12 to leave this comfortable life. He would leave his country, his father, his mother, and all of the perks of being a wealthy, established family in a city. While those who constructed the tower of Babel were seeking to make their name great (Genesis 11:4), Abraham was promised that God would give him a great name (Genesis 12:2). Not only that, but he would be a blessing to the other nations, and all families of the earth would be blessed through his Seed. Instead of competition and rivalry, Abraham was called to bring about peace and reconciliation. This gives the expression “the faith of Abraham” a whole new level of meaning!
The root of all evil is introduced in Genesis 3. It produces violence on a local level (Genesis 4) and on a large scale (Genesis 6). These are revealed to be incapable of fixing the problem. Instead, a new solution is proposed in Genesis 12: grace through faith. This revolutionary idea would be perfected in the Christ as we will notice tomorrow, and it will serve as the way to solve many of the problems in our world.