Genesis 1-11: A Commentary On God and Man

Genesis is a book of The Bible about beginnings[1]. The book outlines God’s creation of the universe, nature, night, day, animals, and human beings. The book also speaks to the first created human beings, their descendants, and man’s fall into the cycle of life and death. Genesis  1-11 teaches how man became consumed by sin and how important God’s redemption truly is. In Genesis 1-11, the natural world is inhabited by people who fall from God’s grace, allow their pride to cloud their relationship with Him, but still receive grace and a continuity of the human race.

Genesis begins with God’s original work of creation[2]. Through the story presented, man is able to understand that the natural world came into existence by an all powerful Creator. Believers are also presented with the initial truth that God is not only real, but deserves all glory for His work in creating all that man sees. O.T. Allis says of the Creation account: “God is distinct from both man and nature. He is the Creator of both. All things owe their existence to His almighty fiat.”[3] It is important that the audience recognizes that God existed before creating the world and everything He created was done from love and grace. Man owes their very existence to God and no one else.

From the time Adam and Eve rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit to the Tower of Babel being destroyed, man allowed pride to encompass their human identity. The immediate consequences of Adam’s fall brought sin into the world and caused God to cast Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Sin brought guilt, shame, fear, and broken communication with God[4]. As a result, God delivers a prophecy that the seed in the womb of a woman would crush the head of the serpent[5] (Satan, sin, God’s enemies). As Adam’s bloodline is traced down to Noah, man is shown to be involved in perpetual wickedness to the point that God decides to destroy humanity through a global flood[6]. God allowed Noah and his family to be safe in an Ark with two of every animal as they bore witness to the flood that wiped everything else out. Yet despite seeing this devastation, Noah himself had even failed to be a “beacon of light” for the new world[7]. Soon after, man tries to construct the tower of Babel to reach the heavens. When God saw what they had done, He scattered them around the world and struck man with multiple languages and civilizations instead of the one universal language and civilization prior[8].

Through these stories, it can be said that man remained defiant against God even after witnessing total destruction by a global flood. Once Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, man unleashed sin into the natural world. What was once a lavish paradise had become a barren wasteland where death was king. Human relationships were formed among man in order to promote family, but they also sought to promote their unique human identity which they valued more than God. The fact that God allowed man to live at all after the fall is testament to just how precious man is to God. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation and He desires to restore His relationship with mankind[9]. The Tower of Babel represents man’s servitude to pride and demonstrates that man used to be one united civilization. Because of man’s pride and lust to be greater than God, man was divided around the world with many different languages. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends seemingly became strangers all because a civilization united to try and best God.

Genesis 1-11 teaches the importance of repentance and grace. Take the Flood for instance. God could have very well killed Noah and his family as well as all the animals. God could have destroyed everything He created, but He chose not to. God could have killed Noah’s descendants at Babel, but He decided to scatter them and give them another chance to obey Him instead. He could have killed Adam and Eve for eating the fruit, but decided to give them a prophecy and the ability to create life. These stories also ring true through time and demonstrate that history repeats itself in all of man. The natural world is fallen, broken, and infected with sin and the only thing that can save us from it is the grace of God. God has the power to create life, but also the power to end it. Because God chooses to let man continually multiply even though we may reject Him, man cannot deny that God is ultimately a God of love, grace, and mercy.

Genesis 1-11 gives man a better understanding of their beginnings. It also reveals to man the importance of repentance and the consequences of sin. These chapters detail God’s creation of all things and man’s fall from God’s grace despite being created in His image and given a paradise in which to live. Most importantly, these chapters deal with man’s arrogance and pride and show that even in the face of death (the Flood), man remained defiant. God allowing the human race to continue is nothing short of mercy and compassion and can best be summed up by saying “God is love.”[10]


[1] Hindson, Edward E. and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B&H, 2012. p. 51

[2] Ibid. p. 54

[3] Ibid. p. 55

[4]Ibid., p 56

[5] Ibid., Genesis 3:15

[6] Ibid. p. 58

[7] Ibid. p. 59

[8] Genesis 10:1-11:9

[9] Hindson and Yates. p. 56

[10] 1 John 4:8

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charlestinsley

My name is Charlie Tinsley and I blog about The Bible. In particular, I post my thoughts, commentaries, and Bible Study teachings I have done. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Science in Religion Summa Cum Laude with a Biblical Studies Minor. I am currently studying for a Masters In Divinity at Eastern Mennonite Seminary with PhD ambitions in the study of Theology. I am married and have been for several years and I currently reside in Virginia.

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