ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 13

T H E F I R S T B O O K O F T H E B I B L E lays the foundation for the rest of the
Bible’s story. It reveals God as the world’s sovereign Creator. It shows
his intention to bring blessing to ­people—­his ­image-­bearers—­and for
all life to thrive by living in his presence. Genesis tells us about the entrance of evil into the world and the commencement of God’s struggle
against it, a theme that flows through the whole Bible. God created
the world as his own temple, intending to live here among humanity
for their ­well-­being. But how will God achieve his goal in the face of
rebellion and disobedience?
Genesis tells the story of God’s dealings with humanity from the
world’s creation to the time when Abraham’s descendants were beginning to grow into the nation of Israel. It does this by giving the
“accounts” (the word that marks the major divisions of the book) of
notable people. The most important figures are part of the covenant
lineage and therefore advance the ongoing story. Others, described
much more briefly, represent offshoots that will be drawn back in later
as the reach of the covenant community spreads to all of humanity.
In the first four accounts, human disobedience leads to evil and violence that corrupt the created world. Seeing that everything people
think or imagine is “consistently and totally evil,” God is sorry he made
them. He destroys wicked humanity in a great, cleansing flood but
spares Noah and his ­family—­the only righteous people left. After the
Flood, Noah worships God, and God makes his first covenant. With
Noah serving as their representative, humanity and all animals on
earth receive God’s promise: “Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures.”
God then makes a second covenant, one that will ultimately transform
humanity, starting with only a small group. God promises a man named
Abram (later renamed Abraham) that “all the nations of the earth” will
be blessed through him and his descendants. God tells him to leave
his home and move to a new place: the land of Canaan. A
­ braham
­essentially becomes a wanderer in that land and eventually has a son
named Isaac, who becomes the heir to all that God has promised. God
renews his covenant with Isaac and then again with Isaac’s son Jacob,

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