From Creation to Consummation


The Story begins by introducing us to a God whose word inviolably reaches perfect fulfillment (then God said … and it was so, Gen 1:3, 6-7, 9, 11, 14-15, 20-21, 24, 26-31). Everything this God makes is good (and God saw what He had made, and it was good, Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), and the climax of His creation is a creature who images Him by ruling over a perfect dominion (Gen 1:26-28). This ideal situation lasts no more than two pages, however. For mankind takes to himself a prerogative reserved for God alone: now it is the woman who sees and decides what is good (Gen 3:5-6). The man quickly follows. Thus rather than exercising God’s authority over all creation (Gen 1:26, 28), man usurps God’s authority and thereby finds himself dominated by the creation.


However, God immediately promises that the woman’s offspring will ultimately prevail over the serpent, though the victory will be hard bought (Gen 3:15). In many ways, the remainder of the Story flows from this promise. And so the Author leads us on a massive offspring hunt, exploring numerous “dead end” genealogies (Cain, Ham, Japheth, Ishmael, Esau) before returning each time to find that the Story unfolds via some rather unlikely characters. Thus the Text focuses our attention on Seth, then Noah, then Shem, then Abram. To Abram, God promises innumerable offspring who will bless the entire world (Gen 12:1-3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). God also promises that Abraham’s line will include kings (Gen 17:6, 16).


The trail of offspring contin