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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 19 value of

9. Value and Importance of Genesis

In a general way it would be correct to say that this book is singular in its kind, for it offers the only correct and satisfactory information that we possess concerning prehistoric times and the Urgeschichte ("history of the primitive ages"). It goes back beyond the reach of available historical sources and offers not mythical suppositions, not poetical fancies, not vague suggestions, but a positive record of things as they actually transpired and, at the same time, of matters of infinite moment for all mankind. But more specifically, all this material relative to prehistoric times and the Urgeschichte really provides the most substantial and even fundamental theological concepts. The major theological concepts are incomplete and leave much to be desired, if the content that Genesis offers should be subtracted. Before God can be known as Saviour, He must be understood as the Creator of humankind and of the world. Just what manner of Father and Creator He is we find displayed in the two Creation chapters, Genesis I and 2. In like manner no adequate and correct conception of man is possible without a knowledge of the essentials concerning his creation, his original state, the image of God, and the like. Again, the problem of sin will constitute much more of a problem if the origin of sin, that is to say, the Fall into sin be not understood. With that fact correctly apprehended, we achieve a correct estimate of the degree of depravity that is characteristic of fallen men.

Without the promise of ultimate victory through the Seed of the Woman all further revelations concerning the salvation to come must stand minus an adequate base upon which they can successfully build. In other words, certain vital questions in reference to the type of revelation that mankind needs find a satisfactory answer in Genesis and nowhere else. Concerning some of these matters the legends and the traditions of mankind offer a bit of material, most of which is distorted by error; some of which, in the elements of truth that it contains, is too weak to be of any actual value. An illustration of the extent to which this material is available is the vague report current among the ancients that there once had been a Golden Age. The unreliability of such material is demonstrated by the utter absence of any tradition concerning a Fall into sin. Disregarding the material relation to matters theological, we find that Genesis also provides the much needed foundations for all history. The vague surmises as to man's past prior historic times all stand corrected by the story of the beginnings of the human race in Adam, or by the story of the second beginning in Noah. Equally important are the very valid data concerning the unity of the human race as provided basically in Genesis 1 and in greater detail in chapter 10, incomplete though this latter chapter may be in regard to a few matters. So, too, the question as to the origin of the multiplicity of languages is disposed of by the account concerning the confusion of tongues. Similarly, the singular position of Israel among the nations, a challenge to every historian, finds an adequate explanation in the Call of Abraham. Of course, from that point onward Genesis no longer records general history but only the history of the Kingdom of God.

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