ERA 1: from CREATION to the FALL
1A (intro) Introducing Chart 1A
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 19 February 2020
CHART 1A: GOD’S CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE, INCLUDING THE EARTH AND THE FIRST TWO PEOPLE, AND HIS PRIMARY PURPOSE IN IT ALL
[GENESIS 1:1 – 3:24]
1A(intro)1 Genesis 1-2: Who created the universe?
The first two chapters of Genesis give key information about God. They tell how He1 created the universe, including planet Earth and the first two people, a man and a woman, Adam and Eve.
1A(intro)2 Why did God create the universe? Did He have a primary purpose in all of His creation?
After God created the universe He kept it going. Why? Are there reasons for what God has done and is still doing? What are His intentions for all that He has created? Does God even have a primary purpose?
Because God is GOD He always accomplishes His purposes Isaiah 14:24. If God has a primary purpose it would indicate His intentions behind all of His words and actions. So answers to these questions would give key insights into the whole Bible, especially its big picture “story line”. They would even explain all history! That would have massive relevance for everyone on planet Earth!!
These vital “why” questions are most likely to be answered at the beginning, when God created the universe and everything was “very good” Gen 1:31.2 That was before it was distorted by the bad responses of the first two people (the “FALL”) Gen 3:6b-19.
I have derived from Genesis 1 – 3 a definition of God’s primary purpose in all of His creation [see 1A3].3 Because God’s primary purpose is so crucial, I have made it the central focus of this whole project.4
1A(intro)3 Chart 1A
I have divided up the whole Bible into nine eras of history [see OV5]. Each Era is illustrated and summarised by a pair of boxes-and-arrows flow charts [see HW3-8].
Chart 1A deals with the first biblical Era and is based only on the data contained in GENESIS 1:1 – 3:24.5 It summarises God’s creation of the universe and His intentions for it. This included His perfect relationship with the first two people and His purposeful roles for them.
1A(intro)4 Restricting the data to the historical times of Genesis
What I am trying to show is the historical progression of how God has and will accomplish His primary purpose over successive Eras of time [see OV6 to OV8]. So for each Era I have not used data from later Eras. But any relevant information from preceding Eras has been included.
I have also tried to restrict word meanings to how they were used in each Era. As Era 1 has no preceding Eras, obviously many words in it have their first occurrences in the whole Bible and are introduced without being explained. Some of these are key words such as “create” Gen 1:1,21,27, “Spirit of God” Gen 1:2, “blessed” Gen 1:22,28, 2:3, “image and likeness” Gen 1:26-27 and “holy” Gen 2:3.
The wide range of meanings of these words and phrases only became fully developed in later Eras. Yet much of their meaning can be derived from how they were used in GEN 1:1 – 3:24. But sometimes it is necessary to make some allowance for word meanings that could have derived from the later times when Genesis was compiled in the form we now have.6 Apparently the author(s) assumed that their intended readers would understand the words used, based on their existing knowledge.
1A(intro)5 Genesis 1 – 2. One or two accounts of creation?
At first glance these initial chapters of Genesis seem to give two differing accounts of creation. The tightly structured narrative of Gen 1:1 – 2:3 has a lot of repeated words and phrases and is set within a framework of seven consecutive days. But Gen 2:4-25 is a more free-flowing narrative and in the original Hebrew language it adds the word yahweh to the word elohim to designate “God”.
However, wording similar to the beginning of Gen 2:4 is repeated nine more times in Genesis Gen 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10,27, 25:12,19, 36:1, 37:2.
On this basis, GEN 1:1 – 2:3 can be seen as a general introduction or prologue to the whole book. GEN 2:4 – 4:26 is then the first narrative or “account” about the original two people, Adam and Eve, their three sons and some of their immediate descendants. The rest of Genesis is structured as a sequence of nine more “accounts” of their significant later descendants. Genesis 1 – 11 contains six of these narratives and gives a “pre-history” of the universe and especially of planet Earth and its people.
1A(intro)6 Interpreting Genesis 1 – 3. Some controversial issues
Some information about God in the Bible is hard to understand. This is simply because it is about God. For example, some obviously controversial and puzzling issues arise in Genesis 1 – 3:-
# The description and sequence of creation taking only six days Gen 1:31 – 2:1
# How long ago did this happen?
# Other “miraculous” things such as God’s forming Adam, the animals and birds from the dust or ground and “breathing life” into them Gen 1:30, 2:7,19
# The apparent emphasis on Adam, the man, as primary Gen 2:7-8,15-17,18,19-20,21-22 (also Gen 3:9,12)
# Eve being made by God from Adam’s “rib” Gen 2:21-22
# God speaking directly to Adam and Eve Gen 1:28-30, 2:16-17
# Two trees having non-organic attributes Gen 2:9
# The whole creation being “very good” Gen 1:31 but then one aspect being “not good” Gen 2:1
# A talking serpent that was exceptionally crafty Gen 3:1
# God walking in the Garden and the sounds of this Gen 3:8
# God placing His “curse” upon things Gen 3:14-17
# The possibility of people living forever Gen 3:22
# Cherubim (angelic beings) and a flaming sword barring the way Gen 3:24
How should these be understood? Are they meant to be literal descriptions or figurative language? Is this influenced by the fact that GEN 1:1 – 2:3 has a highly structured literary form? How does all this relate to the “evolutionary” theories of origins as proposed by some scientists?
Each person studying the Bible is faced with these sorts of issues. They raise many stimulating and interesting questions. Vast amounts have been written about them that I enjoy exploring!
However, my first priority here is to study the Bible as it is without attempting to make it answer a lot of questions it is not primarily addressing. My approach is to examine the biblical text first and try to see what it is emphasizing. I only mention other issues if they relate to what the Bible itself presents as the “main game”.7
1A(intro)7 Prior reading of Genesis 1 – 3 and personal ideas about it
My own method has been first to carefully read the whole biblical section (GEN 1 – 3). Then I jot notes about anything that seemed important or ideas arising from this initial study.
By reading the biblical text FIRST, fills my mind with what it says. This gives me an initial “frame of reference” for all further thinking and researching. It also challenges my prior thoughts about what it says. To be true to the Bible often requires changing previous ideas! [see CA8 to CA10].
I would at least urge you to read Genesis 1 – 3 first, just to get familiar with what it says, before starting on Chart 1A. Perhaps you would also find my note-jotting method a good way to begin.
1A(intro)8 Writing the explanatory notes
After this preliminary work I began to write the detailed explanations. Yet I constantly needed to refer back to GEN 1 – 3 to make sure I was not drifting off into information, issues and ideas that were not there. Further rereading, thinking and insights gained from the Bible and other researchers have resulted in much updating of what I had written initially.
You are invited to join in this ongoing process! You can ask questions and make comments and suggestions. Just CLICK on “Your Comments” at the top of this screen, send me your thoughts… and get replies!
1. The use of a capital letter “H” for personal pronouns referring to God (“He”, “His”, “Him”, Himself”) is traditional, to convey due reverence.
I have also retained this usage because it is helpful in distinguishing these pronouns from those that refer to other male persons. (Return to reading).
2. To read this and all other Bible verses, just place your cursor or touch your mobile device screen on the verse references (see HW9). (Return to reading).
3. If you wish to look up a cross-reference, just scroll down the Index to select the relevant box number. Then scroll down to the cross-referenced section or sub-section(s) [see HW11]. (Return to reading).
4. That is why this website has been named “God’s purpose Bible”. (Return to reading).
5. To see Chart 1A, go to the Index and CLICK on Chart 1A. (Return to reading).
6. Genesis was written as a historical narrative using sources from vastly prior periods [see OTB7 and OTB9]. So it would have been assembled using the author’s current forms of language. All historians inevitably do this. Even if they quote extensively from historical sources, their overall accounts of historical events will always use their own language, writing style, presuppositions and emphases, and reflect the interests of their intended readers. (Return to reading).
7. This whole issue of the focus and emphases of the Bible is outlined more fully in the Articles under Confronting Assumptions [see CA4 to CA6]. (Return to reading).