Is there any Christ in your Genesis? The book of Genesis is often mishandled. Peripheral things are over-emphasized and the main point is lost. Jon and Justin talk about Genesis from a redemptive-historical, covenantal, and Christ-centered perspective.
Semper Reformanda Podcast: Jon and Justin take a deeper dive into covenant theology and the book of Genesis. It is our perspective that Genesis cannot be rightly understood apart from a covenantal framework. We aim to explain how and why.
- Our Covenant Theology teaching series
- Book study on Sam Renihan’s book
- Our episode: Is Your Theological System Any Good?
- Ask Theocast: GENESIS: About Creation? A Science Book? NEITHER?!?!
Book Giveaway: “Grace in Despair” by Dianna Carroll
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Justin Perdue: Hi, this is Justin. Let me begin by asking you a question: is there any Jesus in your Genesis? Today on Theocast, Jon and I are going to be talking about the book of Genesis, the ways that it is often mishandled, and how we often miss the main point of that wonderful book. We’re going to look at Genesis today from a redemptive-historical perspective, from a covenantal perspective with Jesus at the center. We hope it’s encouraging for you.
We’re going to take a deeper dive into covenant theology over in Semper Reformanda, and how that relates to our understanding of Genesis. We hope all of this is helpful and encouraging to you. Stay tuned.
For those who listen to us all the time, you might be ready for what I’m going to say: we talk about redemptive-historical theology and the redemptive-historical framework of the Bible. We talk about covenant theology and we talk about a very Christ-centered way to understand the entirety of Scripture.
Today, we’re going to put some of those tools to work, and we’re going to have a conversation about the very first book of the Bible—and that’s obviously none other than the book of Genesis. There are many takes on the book of Genesis in our day. There are a lot of things said about it that, we don’t want to bury the lead here, that Jon and I find to be a little bit less than helpful and confusing. And the main point of Genesis, we fear, is often lost because of some of these peripheral things that often become the focus. In particular, what we want to do today is be able to talk about Jesus from the book of Genesis.
The episode title, if you’ve already looked at it, is There is No Jesus in Your Genesis, Sir, which is a reference to a Charles Spurgeon quote, a paraphrase of the Charles Spurgeon quote, where he said, “No Christ in your sermon, sir? Go home and never preach again until you have something worth saying.”
So we’re going to talk about the book of Genesis today on a number of levels. We’re going to begin by just talking about some of the things that are often the focus of evangelicalism when it comes to the book of Genesis and hopefully have a little fun; we have a little fun in a gracious way and point out how that’s less than helpful.
And then we’re going to pivot and talk about the ways that we think we should understand the book. I hope that this is mega encouraging for the listener as we think about how God the Son is all over the place in the book of Genesis.
Jon Moffitt: What is the book of Genesis about? I asked this to my kids the other day just to test them out. Justin has his hands way up in the air. And the common answer is…
Justin Perdue: Creation.
Jon Moffitt: Creation. That’s right. What is interesting is Justin, you’re preaching through the book. I’ll throw you on the spot here. How many chapters are in Genesis?
Justin Perdue: 50.
Jon Moffitt: 50. And how many of those chapters are in reference to creation?
Justin Perdue: Two.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right.
Justin Perdue: I’ve got my hand raised. Can I make some comments? Ask me what Genesis is about.
Jon Moffitt: We’ll get there. We’ll get there.
I grew up influenced by what’s called an evidentialist apologetic. For those of you that are new to Theocast, or maybe new to this whole idea, apologetics is to give an answer. You’re not apologizing for something because you feel sorry, but it’s to provide an answer. And there are two different categories of apologetics: you have evidentialist, meaning that with enough evidence you can provide solid truth so that someone can make a logical decision to follow Christ. So apologetic through evidence. And then Justin, what would be the opposite of an apologetic perspective?
Justin Perdue: Presuppositionalist perspective? That means we understand that there are presuppositions that must be maintained and held if one is going to see these truths as legitimate and valid, and ultimately, given that we understand that God is the one who grants us true wisdom and sight by His grace, we understand that we’re not going to reason anybody into the kingdom of God and that God must do a work in someone’s life in order to cause them, help them, by His grace to see these things as true.
Jon Moffitt: Right. Those are the two perspectives. The one I came from was an evidentialist perspective. We’re going to be as kind as we can be here, but this is the reality. We always try. We’re sinners and we often need to repent.
Anyways, what you end up getting into is an evolution/creation debate, and we use the Bible—specifically the book of Genesis—as a science textbook, or as you like to say, a documentary on creation. We then go through and we try to prove the legitimacy of creation, which I understand and I would agree with, that we can look at science to see the glory of God and to strengthen and encourage our faith. There’s nothing wrong with that. But as we do with any text of the Bible, we need to always ask two very important questions: who is the audience and what’s the author’s intention of writing to that audience? And that will tell you the purpose of the book.
Justin Perdue: And alongside that, as the divine Author of the entire Bible, what is God meaning for us to understand here too? And I know you agree.
Jon Moffitt: Right. The hard part about when we’re thinking about Genesis is that we immediately focus on the scientific/historical side of it—and it is important. If you don’t have a historical Adam and Eve, you’re going to be falling off into heresy after chapter 2. So we have a problem.
We understand the debate; this is not what this debate is about. We hold to a historic understanding of Adam and Eve, but when it comes down to our understanding of Genesis, because we have created such an evidentialist/this is an evolution-creation debate, we miss the whole point of why Genesis was written and the purpose of Genesis in modern day life. Our life today, as a believer—what is it supposed to be for us? There’s the Creation Museum, we’ve got the big ark over in Kentucky, and people would ask me what my thoughts are on that. I think there are some helpful things there for Christians. They can go there and be encouraged. It’s a lot of money. I don’t know if I would have spent all that money on that. So if someone wants to give me multi-millions of dollars, I probably will use it for something else. But I’m not here to judge—I don’t live far from Kentucky, so probably one day I’ll take my kids to go see it.
Justin Perdue: I’ll even go so far as to say, in a slightly more joke-ish, punchy way, that if the initial thought bubbles that go up from your head when the book of Genesis is mentioned is creation versus evolution, if you immediately think Creation Museum and you immediately think Ark in Kentucky, then this podcast is for you. With all due respect, not that those things are bad. And like Jon said, there’s a time and a place for some of these debates and conversations. There are useful things, I’m sure. Going to the Creation Museum or going to the ark in Kentucky could be a great experience to have with your family. I also don’t think that Christians that don’t go are going to be missing out on something that is somehow just essential to our faith because the point of the book of Genesis is something entirely different.
I’ll go ahead and say this really quickly before we get into more of the meat of the episode. When you read Genesis 1 and 2, your mind should immediately go to Revelation 21 and 22. Because in reading the account of creation, we are reading that in light of God’s promise of the consummation of redemption and restoration at the end of it. There are striking parallels between those respective chapters at the beginning and end of the Bible. I think this episode is going to maybe flesh out for us why and how that’s the case.
It’s sad that we have sort of gotten lost in the weeds—and the concerns that are peripheral at best have become the main focus of our conversation about this book of the Bible. And we miss the main point and are robbed of really edifying and encouraging stuff.
Jon Moffitt: Justin, if you don’t mind, I’d like to give the context to Genesis and why it was written, and then we’ll move from that to try and give us a fuller explanation, comparing to what most commentaries and what most people do with Genesis. Then, I think, we’re going to argue the way in which the Bible has used the book of Genesis and we’ll go from there.
We need to think about the historical context at this point. I know that this is a little bit snarky, but Genesis was not written the day after creation. Adam didn’t have a pen out and was tracking along.
Justin Perdue: It was actually written millennia after.
Jon Moffitt: Yes. 2,500 plus years is the estimate of how much recorded history had passed in Genesis before it was given us. So you have to understand why then was it written so far down the line? Let’s just think about the history. To understand Genesis, I would say Genesis is the prologue to Exodus, and in many ways you would want to go read Exodus first because it explains why Genesis exists. I know that the order of the books come in Genesis, Exodus, but it is for this very reason: Moses is the author of the Pentateuch. Moses’ life and story explain the necessity of why these books were written. This is, I would say, the really fast prologue introductions to the whole explanation of Genesis. The people of Israel who had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, they have not only been there that long, but there is no recorded history other than the verbal history that’s been handed to them about Abraham and the promises of Abraham, and they have become flat out polytheists, and it becomes the plague of the nation for the rest of their existence. It’s just horrible. God talks about whoring after other gods and idols constantly with the prophets and even Moses. When they’re brought out, Moses is up on the mountain. He comes back and what are they doing? They’re worshiping another golden calf. So you have an issue of polytheism. When Moses leaves and he goes up on the mountain and brings back the 10 commandments, what’s the first commandment? “You should have no other gods before me”, which is the issue Israel is going to face. When Moses begins to write this, he’s not writing this with the absence of reality. In Egyptian history, the tradition was that there wasn’t one god who created everything; there were multiple gods.
Justin Perdue: And that was true of all the ancient Near Eastern creation accounts.
Jon Moffitt: So Moses is writing in such a way that it’s shocking to say that in the beginning, Yahweh, one God, created all things. You have to understand that there is definitely an apologetic going on. It’s polytheism, not evolution, that he’s going after. This is a monotheistic religion that Moses is introducing to a polytheistic people.
Justin Perdue: Sure. A few comments here on not only Moses writing it, but what he’s doing. As we’ve already said, Genesis is historical and Moses is writing redemptive history, and it’s really important that we understand that. That’s why I say it’s not a documentary, it’s not a history textbook. It’s not written like that.
Two things can be true at the same time, and I think this is worth mentioning: we can uphold the fact that even the account of creation is written in a very beautiful and literary way, and at the same time, uphold its historicity. Those things are not mutually exclusive. I know sometimes people lose their minds when we start to talk about the literary elements of the way Moses wrote the book, but he is writing redemptive history for the people of Israel. And like you said, Jon, if anything, the creation account in Genesis is written as a polemic against not only polytheism generally, but also specifically against other creation myths that would have existed. It’s very clear as you study it because there are very interesting distinctions between Genesis and these other accounts of creation, and those distinctions make all the difference. They’re too coincidental to be a coincidence. So Moses knows what he’s doing.
Now, is Genesis—and the Bible in general—useful in speaking to atheism? Yeah, because in the Bible, it’s very clear that people have denied the existence of God forever. The fool says in his heart that there is no God and all that. So we’re not saying that one can’t use the Bible to argue against an atheistic worldview, but understand why Genesis was written to the people of Israel originally. I think it does matter.
Jon Moffitt: I do not feel the necessity, at any moment, when I am dealing with unbelievers or even the atheist to prove to them the evidence of science or use science to prove Scripture. And the reason I have to say that is Paul is very clear that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God. That’s Proverbs. But Paul has also said that the unbeliever will look at the Word of God, specifically the gospel, and call it foolish.
Justin Perdue: And the unbeliever will suppress the truth about God and unrighteousness. Romans 1. So, clearly, God has to do a work in a person’s heart and mind in order for the person to ever see God’s existence is true and good.
Jon Moffitt: Now, does that mean that any efforts at apologetics, when it relates to creation and all that, is of no value? No.
Justin Perdue: We want to clear up misunderstanding.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. I just think we need to be very careful that we don’t use Genesis in a way it was not intended to be used. If you think that God wrote that so that we could prove to the evolutionists they’re wrong, evolution didn’t come around until many, many, many years later.
Justin Perdue: Let’s talk about Genesis and what it’s about. What is Genesis about? Short answer: Genesis is about redemption. Because that’s what the whole Bible is about. It is also more specifically about redemption accomplished through God the Son who took on flesh, and that is in view all throughout the book of Genesis.
Let’s begin with the account of creation in Genesis 1:1 and following. Is Jesus in Genesis? Is God the Son in Genesis, even Genesis 1? Absolutely. He is. We should not read Genesis one without thinking of some other passages of Scripture. So when we read in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God…” our mind should immediately go to John 1. “In the beginning,” the exact same construction, “was the Word,” who is the divine Word, God the Son, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” So in that sense, God the Son is the beginning of all things in terms of this world, and he is the agent of creation through whom the whole thing is made.
Jon Moffitt: I would say that we need to, I would say as the Reformers do, but I would argue as the apostles do, they use the New Testament in order to interpret and explain the Old Testament. This is a great example of that.
Justin Perdue: A couple of other texts just for our encouragement: Colossians 1:16 about Jesus. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Jon Moffitt: Did the readers of Genesis, when Moses wrote the Pentateuch, fully understand that?
Justin Perdue: Of course not. Did Moses understand it fully?
Jon Moffitt: Probably not.
Justin Perdue: This is an epic thought: the writer of the Hebrews, at the beginning of his letter, he says that God has spoken to us at various times in various ways through the prophets, etc. “But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. . . through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Think about that thought, that the one through whom all things were made is the very one who takes on flesh to go and live in that world, suffer in that world, bleed in that world, and die in that world in order to save sinners. I think it’s legit that we see that from the opening tip of Scripture. Genesis 1:1—there it is. “In the beginning, God….” We have God the Son present, and we need to think about God the Son and his redemptive work that he would do, connecting it to these other passages in the Bible.
Jon Moffitt: I would say there are two ways in which Genesis has been read, but they come to the same conclusions. When the children of Israel would hear the law read over them constantly and they would memorize it, they would write it upon the tables of their heart—all of the commands that we have given to us and Deuteronomy—they would hear it as the same way: it is the history of redemption. The reason is that in Exodus, they just entered into a covenant with a God they really don’t know much about. And Moses says, “Here’s the God you just entered into covenant with. He is the creator. He’s also the one who made the promise to restore that which was broken.”
So Moses, through the inspiration of the Spirit, is explaining how they got from creation to Egypt, and explaining the faithfulness of God along the way. I will say that the most important part of the story of Genesis is the fall, because the question then becomes, one, we know that there is sin because everyone experiences it. Moses just explains how it got here. And then the greatest part about Genesis is that you have the Creator of the universe, and now you’re going to have the restoration by the Creator.
Justin Perdue: He’s the Restorer of the universe.
Jon Moffitt: In the mind of the reader, the question has to be, “Who is the seed of Eve?” Because when he shows up, then all will be made right. That’s the question the reader has.
Justin Perdue: And we’re going to get to that promise in just a minute. But I think you’re right. I think it’s important for people to see that the work of redemption is effectively the work of re-creation. That’s what God is about. We’re just going to pepper some stuff in here from the early chapters of Genesis. Even in verses three through five where God creates light, I think this is significant. And I think it preaches a sermon about Christ. Because there is light in the universe now, and light only comes from God—without God, there’s darkness—but there’s light that exists without the sun being created yet. And people sometimes lose their minds and wig out. How is there light without the sun? Have you read the book of Revelation? Have you read Revelation 21 where we’re told that the Heavenly City has no need of sun or moon to shine on it for the glory of God gives it light and its lamp is the Lamb.
Jesus, also according to John’s gospel, in him, in the Word was life, and that life was the light of men, the true light that enlightens everyone who is coming into the world. So Christ is described that way. He’s going to literally be the light of the new heavens and the new earth. So we ought to see that in the early chapters of Genesis: there’s light that exists apart from the sun. It’s preaching Christ to us.
Last thing, if you’ll allow me from the creation account early there. The seventh day, the Sabbath day; it’s a very unique day because all the other six days have this common refrain of “there was evening,” “there was morning,” “the first, second, third, etc. day.” The seventh day doesn’t have that refrain. Many Christians through history have understood that to be a pointer to Christ because that seventh day is awaiting its fulfillment, and that seventh day of our Sabbath rest finds its yes and amen in Christ. In particular, it’s fulfilled when Jesus would lay in a tomb outside Jerusalem. 1500 years after Moses wrote these words, he’s going to lay in a tomb outside Jerusalem on the seventh day of the week because his work is done. Redemption is over. Sin is atoned for. Righteousness fulfilled. And he’s going to get up from the dead on the next day to usher us into the new creation. And then the writer to the Hebrews picks up on that and tells us that we have entered into God’s Sabbath rest when we cease from our working, like God rested from His. And we know that Christ is the fulfillment of that rest that we are promised forever, but it’s already ours in Him.
Genesis 1 and the early verses of Genesis two—we should read these in light of Christ and what God is going to do through him if we’re going to read Genesis like Christians.
Jon Moffitt: Genesis is a Christian book, just to be clear. The Old Testament is a Christian book. I mentioned there are two ways to read it: first of all, it’s treated as an Israelite who understands that God is the one redeeming them and they’re looking forward to the seed of Eve, and then it comes through the seed of Abraham, and so we gain clarity. You have the promise and then you have the narrative of humanity about how they just constantly prove they are in desperate need of restoration, or I would say rescuing. You get to the flood and God says no one is righteous, and so He abolishes the world. And then just like anybody would ever think, if we could start all over and just get rid of all the bad people, God proved that won’t work. Because the problem is not with the current people on the earth; the problem is that it’s in the heart or in the seed of man—it’s passed down.
Justin Perdue: If we’re going to talk about Adam and Noah, Noah is a type of Adam. God wipes humanity off the face of the earth because He sees that the inclinations of man’s heart is only evil continually in Genesis 6. After the flood, God has hit the reset button but the problem with Noah is that he’s too much like Adam. Basically, sin remains. We even see one of Noah’s sons is cursed, like God cursed humanity, the snake, and the whole creation in the garden. Just hitting the reset button and wiping people off the earth is not going to fix this. There’s something more fundamentally at issue here.
Jon Moffitt: The second way it’s read, as modern day Christians, is that we have the whole Canon now, and we allow the New Testament interpretation of the book of Genesis to be the filter by which we then go back and read and say with full confidence that Genesis is the introduction of Jesus to us, not only of the Father, but Jesus, the Creator and Sustainer of the world. And not only that, but the Spirit that moved upon the water. So we allow the New Testament to be read now as redemptive as well, but we read it as seeing that it’s the fulfillment of Jesus and how we get Jesus to this point. I think, as an Israelite or as a modern day Christian, we both read Genesis from a redemptive historical understanding of Scripture because it’s how we get Jesus.
Justin Perdue: It’s a great observation. You have the Trinity in the first two verses of Genesis 1, because you have the Father, and then the Son is the agent of creation, and the Spirit hovering over the face of the deep. That’s a pretty cool thought, too.
Going back to the garden and thinking about Adam and Eve, covenants and promises, and the like… Jon, let’s not bury the lead here. We are convinced, and we’re going to talk about this in Semper Reformanda in detail, that it is impossible to rightly understand Genesis apart from a covenantal framework—and that’s a big deal. More on that over in Semper Reformanda. We’re going to talk a little bit about some of this stuff right now. So God makes Adam and Eve in His own image, and then God makes a covenant with Adam where He gives him things that he is to do, and He gives him prohibitions—one prohibition in particular that there’s a particular tree that he’s not to eat of, and He gives a sanction: “If you break this covenant that I’ve made with you, then in the day that you break it, you’ll surely die.” Adam, in that sense, is serving as the representative of the entire human race. And when he falls into sin, he plunges all of humanity and all of the creation into sin and ruin along with him.
How do we know this is true? We could go a number of places, but we can go to the book of Romans where Paul connects all of these things for us, and we see that through one man’s disobedience, all of this wreckage and ruin has come upon us. But then through the obedience of the new Adam, the second Adam—Christ—that many will be made righteous. And so we can connect Adam and Christ that way, and see that God intended that if Adam had obeyed and had been righteous, that all would have been well with humanity. But because he fell and we fell in him, there now has to be another one who can represent us before God and actually accomplish all of the terms of the covenant that God made with Adam. He is perfectly obedient, he is sinless, he is completely righteous, and then his work is counted to us and he represents us for all of those who are united to him in faith. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that that promise that God makes to Adam and Eve in the aftermath of the fall, that there will come a seed of the woman who will step on, who will crush the serpent’s head—that is the proto-euangelion, the first promise of the gospel, as it’s often referred to—that is the promise we would say of the covenant of grace.
The rest of the entire Bible—it’s a big book, and Genesis 3:15 is only a few pages in—the rest of the entire Bible is the unfolding and the accomplishment of that promise.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. Yes, creation is a big part of it. But I would say I agree with Justin: the covenant of works, and I would call it the first Adam and the last Adam, or he’s also described as the second Adam in that Christ is the fulfillment where Adam failed. And you have Paul mentioning this language and using this language that Jesus is the second Adam. In many ways, that’s what you’re waiting for. You’re waiting for the federal head, meaning the representative of humanity. Federal head is a language that I was introduced to by Reformed theology, and a lot of people struggle with the concept of a federal head, but federal means representative. Because Adam sinned, we are all sinners. We inherited his sin. He is the representative of humanity. If you reject that theology, it’s kind of dangerous because that’s the very thing that Paul says: in Adam all died because he is the original human and his disobedience is now passed on to us. But it also says in Christ, all are made alive.
So, you want federal headship because if you don’t have it, then Christ can’t be your representative for righteousness. This doctrine is introduced in the very beginning, in the very first book, and it really becomes the theme. Because you see the federal head and the representative of the effects of it in Genesis 3:16 and following, and all of a sudden, you see the curses that come forward, you see the fallout, and then you also see the promise of the federal head of Christ, the second Adam, which is in the seed. And you see the story of the two seeds, which we would argue is the two covenants—covenant of grace versus covenant of works—Christ being the promise of the covenant of grace. If you want to know what we mean by that, we did a whole five-part series on the covenant of grace or covenant theology. It’ll be in the show notes. So go down there and find that it’s free. Go listen to it. There’s a whole handout. We encourage you to do so.
The reason why we mentioned this is that it helps you understand and really flow the narrative, where you’re not trying to find one evidence to prove somebody wrong about history. Number two, you’re not trying to find moral application. Can you find moral application in these texts? Sure. Don’t be like Adam and Eve and disobey God. But you’re missing what’s really happening and the superstar of the story, which is God using Jesus to redeem sinners. That’s the superstory, and there are these stories under that.
I will say this: in the dispensational-evidentialist world, it seems like the superstar of the story, which should be Christ, is put down as a subset and everything else becomes a priority, whether it’s the evidence of creation or moralism, the “be like” whoever…
Justin Perdue: I would argue that it’s not just in the evidentialist-dispensational world. I agree completely with what you assessed about that world, but I think in other streams within evangelicalism, there are still things that are inappropriate, like there’s an off-centered emphasis. For example, even in thinking about Genesis 2 and the covenant God makes with Adam, I think people are happy in a general sense, to say that Adam represents us and that in his fall he represents us. But there’s not always that obvious connection made with how everything that was lost in Adam and then some is going to be gained for us in Christ. We miss that connection or we emphasize things that are secondary application as though they’re the main takeaway. In Genesis 3 and the account of the fall, how many times have you heard sermons where the emphasis is Adam and Eve doubting God’s word? And that’s the problem. Or Adam didn’t lead Eve like he should have, and that’s the emphasis.
I’m not saying that all of that is illegitimate to say at all, but the point of that text is the fall of humanity into sin because our first covenant head and federal head fell and failed in the covenant that God had made with him. And there was a promise immediately upon sin entering the world, and immediately upon us in Adam blowing it—there’s the promise of grace, there’s the promise of Christ in the gospel. And God went, “I’ve got this. I’m going to save a people. You guys, because you have such a thing as freedom of choice, right in the garden, you have blown this. But I’m a Redeemer and I always have been, and I’m good. And there’s one who’s coming.” that needs to be what we preach from Genesis 3. And then as we make our way through the rest of the book, we’re tracing those two lines of the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
And the question that you often will ask, Jon, that I think is a really good one: as we’re reading the rest of the Bible, we’re thinking who that promised seed is. When is he coming? That’s what we’re finding out as it unfolds through farther steps in Revelation, unfolds through the rest of the Old Testament, where we are primed and ready by the time the angels announce to Mary and to Joseph that there’s one coming who’s going to be named Jesus, because he’s going to save his people from their sins. Thank God he’s coming. He’s here.
I think that we do people a tremendous disservice when we do not emphasize the redemptive plan of God accomplished through Christ, that has always been the plan not just from Genesis 1, but from before the world began.
Jon Moffitt: I would even say what is great when you start having a Christocentric understanding or a redemptive-historical understanding of Scripture, you begin to see the connection. There’s a flow. There’s a cohesiveness to the text. One of the things I love about the grace that’s in the New Testament is absolutely seen in the Old Testament. Here’s a great example: God comes into the garden and says, “Hey, Adam! Where are you?” As if God does not know. It’s like, “Hey, buddy. I know you’re hiding. I know what you just did.” It’s like you caught the kid with the hand in the cookie jar, but it’s far worse than that. You caught them with a bloody knife and he just murdered. What does God do when He promises the seed? What requirement did He put on Adam and Eve?
Justin Perdue: Nothing.
Jon Moffitt: Nothing. He did one thing: He separated himself from their presence and then said, “Oh, and by the way, not have anything to do with you, but through my providence and my promises, I will then restore your presence back to me.” That’s grace, right? To receive unmerited favor. And it was seen right in the beginning. God not only promises Jesus, but promises Jesus with no strings attached. That’s good news.
Justin Perdue: I could talk about this for a long time, but we got to get over to Semper Reformanda. I’ll make a couple of brief comments about something you just raised.
What we’ve done today, I hope, with Genesis is maybe begin to show people how they can and should read their entire Old Testament. Because I do think a lot of people approach the Old Testament in a number of ways that are bad. We’ve touched on several. One, for many people, the Old Testament is just like a wasteland: it’s hard, it’s full of law and threats. There is maybe an occasional oasis because there’s a prophecy about the Messiah or some promise of grace or comfort or restoration. But generally speaking, the Old Testament is just hard. We ought not see it that way if we’re looking at it through this Christocentric, redemptive-historical lens. You already talked about our tendency to moralize the Old Testament, where we follow around these Old Testament saints and figure out how to be like them. That’s not a good way to approach the Old Testament.
Lastly, I think people tend to approach the Old Testament, and this is probably especially true in a dispensationalist framework with an almost completely law-centered mentality. What are you doing with that? You’re mining through every text to find the things that we need to be doing or the things that we need to not do, and that becomes the point of the message.
Here’s the issue: none of that squares with how Jesus understood the Scriptures and none of that squares with how the apostles understood the Scriptures. And remember that for Jesus and the apostles, the Scriptures were the Old Testament. That was their Bible at that time. They understand that whole thing, the Old Testament, to be a testimony about Christ. And so we should certainly understand the book of Genesis that way. And I think we’ve tried to do that this morning as we’ve recorded.
So we’re about to make our way over to Semper Reformanda, which is a podcast for those who have partnered with Theocast and have joined the Reformation, as we like to say, to see this message and this theology spread as far and wide as possible. Because Jesus really is enough for us to have peace with God now and forever, and we want as many people to know that rest and that peace is possible. If you don’t even know what Semper Reformanda is, you could find out more information about it and the ways that you could partner with our ministry over at our website, the URL for that is theocast.org. We encourage you to go check out everything we got over there on the site, including how to become a member of Semper Reformanda.
Jon Moffitt: And a big part of the membership is online and local groups where you can get together and discuss the podcast each week. So don’t miss out on that.
Justin Perdue: Not only are you partnering with us, but we’re trying to create a community where you can love on each other and encourage each other and sharpen each other. So if that sounds good to you, go check it out.
We will talk with many of you over there on SR. I think that’s the lingo we’re using these days.
Jon Moffitt: And what are we talking about?
Justin Perdue: How a covenantal framework is essential to our understanding of Genesis, and in a lot of ways the Bible, but especially Genesis.
All right. We’ll see you over there guys.