[Lesson 16: The Tower of Babel] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 18: Why God Called Abraham]

Lesson 17

Review of "The Beginning"

Genesis 1-11

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Today, with God's help, we plan to review and summarize what we have studied up to this point in the Torah of the prophet Moses. The Torah is the first section in the Holy Scriptures of the Prophets. This section is very important because it is the foundation which God Himself has laid, by which we can test everything we hear, to know whether it comes from God. The Torah has five parts or books. The first part we call Genesis. There are fifty chapters in Genesis. In our chronological lessons, we have studied up to chapter eleven.

Can you remember what is written in the first verse of the Word of God? Let us reread it. It says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." God is the Lord of Eternity. In the beginning, when the world did not yet exist, only God existed. God is the Eternal Spirit who has no beginning. That is why the first verse of Scripture says: "In the beginning God!"

Next, we saw how God, before He created the world, created thousands and thousands of powerful spirits, calling them angels. Among the angels, there was one who was wiser and more beautiful than all the others. That one was Lucifer, whom God appointed chief of the angels. However, the Scriptures say that a day came when Lucifer exalted himself and despised God in his heart, wanting to take God's place. There were also many other angels who chose to follow Lucifer in his sin. That is why God, who cannot tolerate sin, expelled Lucifer and the evil angels and changed Lucifer's name to Satan, which means Adversary. After God expelled Satan and his angels, he created for them the fires of hell which are never extinguished. The Scriptures say that on the day of final judgment, God, the Righteous One, will throw Satan into that fire along with all who follow him.

Next, we read how the Lord created the heavens and the earth and everything they contain in six days and He used nothing except His word! God created everything for man (whom He planned to create for His pleasure and glory). Man {Lit. A human} is the most important creature that God created, because man was created in the image of God. God wanted to have a deep and meaningful relationship with man. That is why God placed in the soul of man an intelligent spirit (mind) so that he could know God, God gave him a heart so that he could love God, and God committed to him a free will so that he could choose for himself to obey God or to disobey Him.

In the second chapter of the Torah, we read that God planted the Garden of Paradise (Eden) on the earth, and placed in it the man He had created, that is Adam. God, in His goodness, gave Adam everything so that he could live in peace and prosperity.

Also, in the day on which God created Adam, God said to him, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for [in the day that] you eat of it you will surely die." (Gen. 2:16,17) Thus, we saw how God put a simple test before Adam. God wanted a meaningful relationship with the man whom He had created. Therefore God tested him, giving him the authority to choose either to love Him enough to obey Him, or not to obey Him.

We also read that, on the day that God created Adam, God gave him a very wonderful present, a wife! God created the woman from a rib which He took from Adam and then presented her to Adam. He called her Eve. Thus, in six days, God completed His work. So the Scriptures say: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Gen. 1:31) On the seventh day God rested (ceased from His work of creation) and rejoiced in all that He had made.

In the third chapter, we saw how sin came into our world. The Scriptures show us how, one day, when Adam and Eve were near the tree which God had forbidden, Satan came as a crafty snake, saying,

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?' The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' 'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"(Gen. 3:1-5)

Thus, we saw how Satan contradicted the word of God! What had God told Adam and Eve would happen to them if they ate of the tree which he had forbidden? He said: "You will die!" And what did Satan say? He said: "You will not die!" Whose word did Adam and Eve choose to believe and follow: the word of God? Or the word of Satan? Alas, the Scriptures record that Adam and Eve chose to believe the word of Satan and eat the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden! Satan deceived Eve so that she transgressed. Adam deliberately chose to disobey God's command and to follow Satan. Thus, the Holy Scriptures say: "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men." (Rom. 5:12)

Consequently, God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise, just as He had said He would do. But before He expelled them, God promised to send a Savior into the world to redeem the children of Adam from the power of Satan, sin and death! To confirm that promise, God slaughtered some animals and made clothes of the skins and put them on Adam and Eve. By means of those animal sacrifices, God was teaching Adam and Eve that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22)

In chapter four, we read the story of Adam's first two children, Cain and Abel. We saw how Abel offered to God an innocent lamb, slaughtered it as a sacrifice for sin, just as God had done for Abel's parents. However, Cain tried to approach God in his own way, bringing what he had cultivated in the earth which God had cursed. Thus, the Scriptures say: "The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor." (Gen. 4:4,5) God called Cain to give account so that he would repent and accept God's way of righteousness, but Cain only got angry, and killed Abel, his younger brother.

Afterward, God gave Adam and Eve another child, named Seth. Seth, like Abel, believed God and approached Him with the blood of a sacrifice. Thus, we saw the two genealogies which descended from Adam, that is, the line of Cain and the line of Seth. The descendants of Cain did not believe God. But among the descendants of Seth were those who believed God. One, who descended from Seth, was named Enoch. Enoch walked with God in a corrupt generation. Enoch had a great grandson by the name of Noah. In the days of Noah, God purposed to wipe out the children of Adam with a flood because of their wickedness. In that perverse time, only Noah believed God, which is why God told him to build a huge ark (boat), which would be a refuge for him and his family and many animals, and any who would turn from their sins and believe the word of God. For a hundred years, God patiently endured sinners while Noah constructed the ark. However, no one repented of his sins to the point of believing the message of God, except Noah and his family. Thus, in the end, God did everything that He had promised. He judged everyone who did not believe the truth. All but Noah and his family perished in the great flood.

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. From these three men all the peoples of the world descend. However, we saw how most of their descendants quickly forgot God and His word. In our last lesson, we learned how Nimrod and those who went along with him planned to bring all the people of the world to one place and build a great city with a high tower in rebellion against God. However God confused their language, and scattered them throughout the earth. The city became known as Babel, which means confusion. That, in short, is what we have studied up to this point in the book of Genesis, in chapters one to eleven.

How then can we summarize what we have seen in all these stories? What does God want to teach us from what happened in the beginning of time? There are many lessons to be learned, but today we only have time to explain two of them. One lesson is that Man is unrighteous. The other truth to be learned is that God is righteous!

In our studies, we have repeatedly seen the unrighteousness of man. We saw it begin in the Garden of Paradise (Eden), when Adam ate the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden. We saw it again in Cain, Adam's firstborn son, who refused to follow the way of sacrifice which God had established. We observed this same unrighteousness in Cain's descendants, in the people of Noah's generation, and in those who tried to build the tower of Babel. In short, the story of the children of Adam is: Man is unrighteous! As it is written in the Scriptures: "All men are under [the dominion of] sin…there is no one righteous, not even one!… All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one!" (Rom. 3:9,10,12)

Just as we have seen the unrighteousness of man, so we have also seen the righteousness of God. The Scripture tells us that "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all!" (1 John 1:5) We witnessed God's righteousness when He expelled Lucifer because of his pride and rebellion. We saw it again when He expelled Adam and Eve because of their disobedience. Next, God revealed His righteousness by promising to send into the world a holy Redeemer who would pay the debt of sin for the children of Adam. Also, we observed the righteous character of God in His law which stated: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22) God displayed His righteousness when He accepted Abel because of the blood of a lamb, and refused Cain, who scorned God's way of forgiveness. We saw God's righteous nature in the time of Noah, when, after giving man a hundred years to repent, He sent a flood to wipe out all who refused His way. And in our last study, we saw how God revealed His righteousness by mixing up the language of the people of the city of Babel who were rebelling against Him.

Yes, God is righteous and must judge people according to His standard of righteousness! Unrighteous sinners cannot approach Him on the basis of their imperfect "good deeds." God must judge and condemn anything that is tainted by sin. The Scripture says, "Our God is a consuming fire!…The Lord will judge his people. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" (Heb. 12:29; 10:30,31)

Thus, in the first eleven chapters of the Torah, God has made known to us the important truth concerning His absolute righteousness. Does this mean that unrighteous man has no hope of being accepted by God? No, praise be to God, there is hope for sinners! God, in His grace, has revealed a way by which the unrighteous children of Adam can be made right before Him! Do you know the way of salvation which God has established for sinners? If you do not yet understand God's way of righteousness, we invite you to join us in the upcoming programs as we study about the prophet Abraham who was called the friend of God. In the amazing story of Abraham we will see how those who are unrighteous can be made righteous before God.

Thank you for listening….May God bless you as you think about all we have studied today. Remember that God's Word says:

"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Rom. 15:4)