So, last week I gave you Part II and said that Part I would come. I may have suggested Friday, but it didn't happen. Sorry about that.
However, better late than never, so here it is:
Genesis 1-11 are the chapters that address more than the origin of Israel in the Biblical narrative. These chapters address the origin of everything. This is the contextual foundation for the rest of the Bible: if Genesis 12 begins the story of God's work to redeem mankind back to Himself, why do we need redeemed?
Abraham is called out from amidst a group of people---where did they come from? When you get to the Cross of Christ and the substitution of the Son of God in death for us, the question becomes: Was there not another way?
Genesis 1 through 11 helps us see the truth about these answers:
We need redeemed because we're broken. Dead, really, but broken works if you think of us as broken like a plate glass window: uselessly broken, hopelessly broken.We see that in the first 4 chapters. God creates a very good world, and Adam and Eve sin and bring death into the world. To reinforce that it wasn't an isolated incident, we see that Cain and Abel still had trouble. It's not a few people that are dead in their trespasses, it's all of humanity.
Abraham is called out from the people who stayed fairly near to the Tower of Babel after God scattered the world and confounded their language. When you look in Genesis 11, God scatters the people by moving from one language to a polyglot of all sorts of tongues and speeches. God does this in judgment and most people scatter. A few stay nearby---and this is the culture from which Abraham is called. The ones so stubborn that they didn't leave the scene of the crime. You might think it was because they had a cleaner conscience. I think it's because they were stubborn.
As to the final question: was there not another way? When we read Genesis 1-11 we see that, no, there wasn't. We see that all of Creation is corrupt: man was the final point, and man wrecked himself. That trickles down, like a virus spreads. We see in the time of Noah that God removed all the people except for one faithful family, and still that led to a continuation of sinfulness.
The first 11 chapters of the Scriptures give us this fact: mankind's problems are not on the outside. It's not the environment or the temptations or even the other people. It's in the heart. Even without the other sinners, even with seeing God's judgment, man still slides away from God.
Man is defective on the inside: we've inherited that ever since Adam and Eve brought it in. And it takes the work of the Holy God of the universe to fix it. It takes redemption that pays the penalty for sin alongside regeneration to start us afresh with a heart to know God and follow Him.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis show me one thing above all the other truths that are revealed there:
We had to have the Cross. The sinless Son of God had to die for us, be raised, and ascend. Without this, we have no hope. The Almighty God knew it from Creation: it was His plan all along.
Surrender to it, and become a part of the redemption and regeneration. It is more than part of what you need. It's all of it.