Lesson 1 Genesis 1
Gen. 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
Introduction and History
The authorship of the Book of Genesis is, like the authorship of the other books of the Pentateuch, anonymous. Both internal and external evidence is lacking to reasonably establish the author of Genesis. While the NT speaks of the Law as ‘Moses’ or the ‘books’ or ‘law’ of Moses, it nowhere points specifically to Genesis by itself in these terms. Portions of the Pentateuch record the strategic role Moses played in its making. This is seen from his first written records of the curse against Amalek (Exod 17:14) and the book of the Sinai covenant (Exod 24:3–7) to the writing and safekeeping of his initial exposition of the law (Deut 31:24–26). It would seem that, as argued in the Introduction to the Pentateuch, the core and substance of the books of the Pentateuch from Exodus to Deuteronomy are the work of Moses. Yet the NT, in attributing the Pentateuch as a whole to Moses, would seem to imply Mosaic authorship for Genesis as it does for Exodus through Deuteronomy. Thus, Mosaic authorship of Genesis may be established on the basis of its unity with the other books of the Pentateuch and on the basis of the outstanding qualifications that Moses had for writing such a book which is foundational to an understanding of the remainder of the Pentateuch.
He events recorded in Genesis span from the creation of the world until the death of Joseph. While it is not at all possible to date the beginning of the world, the dating of events during the life of the patriarchs can be determined with reasonable accuracy with respect to modern reckoning. In the Introduction to the Pentateuch a discussion is presented on the chronological aspects of the Pentateuch. There it was determined that events beginning with Abram and ending with the death of Joseph span about 350 years going from about 2166 B.C. to 1806 B.C. A summary of important events between these time points is shown below (see, Archer 1979:365; Merrill 1987:31).
DATE OF COMPOSITION
Assuming Mosaic authorship, the date of composition for the Book of Genesis would have to be between 1446 B.C. (the date of the Exodus) and 1406 B.C. (the death of Moses). A likely possibility is during the year that Israel spent encamped in the wilderness at Sinai when Moses probably composed most, if not all, of the Books of Exodus and Leviticus. Such an assumption would place the date of composition of Genesis between 1446 and 1445 B.C.