March’s Free Book: Why We Should Stop Focusing on Creation in Genesis 1 (Excerpt)

The Lexham Research Commentary: Genesis 1–11 is free this month. (Plus, you can save $65 and get two more Lexham Research Commentary volumes for under $15.

With all the commentaries available, why grab this one?

  • It’s a commentary on the commentaries—so you know at a glance who thinks what.
  • Dense, jargon-filled research is distilled into easy-to-understand comments.
  • Contextual notes help you place the passage within the narrow context of the biblical book and the broader context of the entire canon.

Plus, there’s thoughtful application—like the excerpt below, adapted from this month’s free book, Lexham Research Commentary: Genesis 1–11

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The Bible begins with creation, not to tell us about the creation, but to introduce us to the Creator. 

We spend so much time on the scientific and theological speculation inspired by Genesis 1 that we often lose sight of the main point of the passage. It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of trying to make sense of the Bible on our terms when we should spend more time seeking God on his terms. 

A text like Genesis 1 raises many questions about creation without providing any straightforward answers. Instead of fretting over those unanswered questions, we should approach the story with a new set of questions. The most important is, “What does this tell me about God?” 

That’s the question the biblical writer was answering. God is unimaginably powerful. He speaks, and creation appears. God is organized. The apparent chaos of the natural world is not outside God’s control. Even the most mundane details of his creation are part of his plan. Finally, we learn that God approved of what he made. Creation was made to display God’s glory, and he called it good (Gen 1:3). Even the imperfection of the fallen world still bears the stamp of the Creator in such a way that its wonders are sufficient to inspire worship of the Creator (Rom 1:20). 

Creation itself and the biblical account in Genesis 1 serve the same purpose: introducing us to God and inspiring us to worship.1

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This post is excerpted from Lexham Research Commentary: Genesis 1–11. Normally $39.99, get it free today! 

The headings and title of this post are the additions of the editor. The author’s views do not necessarily represent those of Faithlife.

  1. Mangum, D., Custis, M., & Widder, W. (2012). Genesis 1–11 (Gen 1:1–2:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Comments

  1. So if we should not focus on Creation in Genesis One, but Focus on God, then in Genesis 3 we should not focus on the Fall (and its rather insignificant details) but on God; and in Genesis 6 we should not focus on the Flood (and all its rather insignificant details in 6, 7, and 8), but on God. Is it possible that the point of the narrative is to focus on both, unless, of course, someone is embarrassed by the clarity of the details?

  2. So forget the historicity of Genesis 1-11? It is all comprised of true myths? No, thank you. I think we can focus on things that Robert Lillo mentioned and glorify God in all of it.

  3. Steve Williams says

    A good question well put Robert, I admire your engaged mind here. You sound to me like a true Berean… “…The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures… to see if they supported what he said”. The Message (Ac 17:11).
    I think your instincts are correct and may I also suggest that perhaps it would be more nuanced to say that God is primary to indicate that yes it is “all about God” but God in context includes us. Our “focus on God” as primary in our reading of scripture is to also see what that means for ourselves as he is such a “significant other” (to use the language of family therapy) that we find out who we are in light of him…”in his light we see light” so to speak. Even in the creation account Humans aren’t presented until the sixth day because they are the apex of the whole drama. God himself is saying in nuanced sense “its all about the human”. Tis a bit like a see saw God weighs so much more than us at the other end that he is the primary mover in taking a turn at going down so that we are lifted up at the other end. In Genesis 1 we are looking at God as primary and creator and then also at the way we are crowned with glory and honor in that creation (see Ps 8). I hope that helps you to make some sense of the polarities involved here. Peace and Grace Steve

  4. Wally Morris says

    This post, and more than a few of the resources that Logos seems to be offering now [a trend developing?], reflects an attempt to downplay the controversial so we can focus on what all can agree on: God. But if you get the details wrong (creation v evolution), you will get God wrong too. The god of evolution is very different than the God of creation. So you can’t understand God properly if you misunderstand Genesis 1. Another attempt by Evangelicals to “clarify” Scripture and theology, but actually ends up in confusion and generalities. Logos should be embarrassed by this post.

    • Karen Engle says

      Hi Wally,

      Thank you for commenting, and we’re sorry you feel that way. Perhaps it would help to read our publishing statement from our CEO Bob Pritchett: https://www.logos.com/about/publishing-philosophy

      All the best, Karen

      • Carol Vivier says

        I appreciate Bob Pritchett’s publishing philosophy: “I want to speak up for the truth. I want to challenge those who are in error, to call out false doctrine and poor teaching, and to be unashamed of the Gospel. And I am: in my home, in my church, and in one-on-one conversations. Were I called to preach, I would do so with boldness and authority,” but I wonder if it is only those in the pulpit who are called to protect the flock? Looking through my office for income tax information that I cannot find, I stopped to read several articles from accumulated magazines. “Evangelicalism, Inerrancy, and Current OT Scholarship” by Todd Beall in the Winter, 2015 issue of Bible and Spade (BibleArchaeology.org) caught my eye. I was dismayed to read as he participated in a 2011 Chattanooga symposium of four panelists, Beall was the only scholar with a literal hermeneutic. Fellow participant Tremper Longman is reported as agreeing the Genesis 1-3 hermeneutic should be consistent, writing: “It is not necessary to conclude that Adam is an historical individual for this text to be without error in what it intends to teach.” Romans 5:17-19 would seem to indicate otherwise. Our differences are material and they matter.

  5. The Bible was written during a prescientific era. The beliefs and culture of near eastern people during that era differed from that of our modern world. Therefore, the Bible was not written from a scientific standpoint. I image that most people of that era thought the earth was flat. It was not important to God to correct them. Using science to debate a prescientific belief and culture is like chasing after the wind. It’s pointless. The important point of Genesis is to introduce the ancient near eastern world to the ‘Creator’. The ancient near east had ideas about how the world was created. Most believed in polytheism. Genesis confirms that there is but one God, the ‘Creator’. This is why we must focus on the intent of Genesis.