The Book of Genesis

The Book:
The name “GENESIS” is the Greek word used in the Septuagint for the first book of the
Pentateuch. The Hebrew word is reshiyth. Both mean “beginning” or “origin.” In Genesis we read about the
beginning of the universe, the beginning of man, and the beginning of sin and of redemption. It is a book
of life and a book of death. In the first chapter we read how God created life, and the last line of the book
says: “he was placed in a coffin in Egypt”1
The Author:
Jewish tradition calls the Pentateuch “The Books of Moses.” The Old Testament was briefly called
“Moses and the Prophets.” Jesus confirms Moses’ authorship several times in the Gospels. Some of His
quotations are: “Now about the dead rising; have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the
bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ ”2 And:
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’… He said to him, ‘If they
do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’

3 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are
set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what
he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”4 Jesus did not just call the Pentateuch The Books of
Moses, but He emphatically stated that Moses wrote them. It is on His authority that we believe Moses to be
the author of the book Genesis.
The time of writing and problems connected with this:
The fact that Moses is the author puts the time of writing during Moses’ life, which is
approximately 1500 BC. Yet all the events in the book took place long before Moses was born. In the other
four books of the Pentateuch, Moses was an eyewitness. But all the material in the book of Genesis must
have been learned by oral and written traditions. That these existed has been proved sufficiently by
archaeological finds. Documents with stories akin to the creation and flood story have been discovered.
Also, in our own missionary career we have found that the Stone Age tribes of Dutch New Guinea (Irian
Jaya, Indonesia) still have oral traditions about the creation and the flood. Even the name of Noah (Nuh)
has been preserved. But when we say that Moses must have used outside sources to write the book of
Genesis, we in no way put ourselves in the camp of the school of “Higher Criticism.” That school dissected
this book and glued it back together after identifying the Elohim source, the Yahweh source, the
Deuteronomy Source and the P-source (the Editor or Editors of the supposed sources were people who
must have lived after the return from the Babylonian captivity).