|Answers From Genesis
THE first six chapters of Genesis present a brief summary of vital high points of approximately the first 1650 years of mankind — from Adam's creation to just before Noah's Flood. In this basic summary of events, many details have been omitted.
However, God saw to it that what we really needed to know was preserved for us today. Sufficient was recorded to show that mankind was instructed of God in the way that would cause every good effect — peace, happiness, prosperity, comfort, an interesting life, abundant well being.
But since the early and brief accounts of the Bible's first book can give rise to many academic questions, answers to some of the most asked questions are given in the following pages. They are logically based on the whole Bible — from Genesis to Revelation. All Scripture is inspired of God through human instruments (II Tim. 3:15-16; II Pet. 1:21).
Bear in mind that any vague biblical scripture must be understood in the light of all the plain clear scriptures on that particular subject. Jesus said "…the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). The Bible, as originally written, never contradicts itself!
Most of these questions were taken from authentic letters emanating from Ambassador College sponsored programs and publications.
• "Can you give me information on prehistoric man? Did God make other men before Adam?" As used by critical historians, "prehistoric time" is said to refer to earliest antiquity nowhere documented in written records. But the Bible records, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Here is a documented account reaching back to the beginning of time. "Prehistoric time," in that sense, is therefore irreconcilable with Scripture.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that biblical passages reveal occurrences prior to the time of man. (Read our free booklet, Did God Create a Devil? for details.)
But so far as humans are concerned, the Bible plainly states that Adam was the first man (I Cor. 15:45), and he named his wife "Eve because she was the mother of all living" (Gen. 3:20). Adam and Eve were therefore the first humans. There were no pre-Adamics as some have falsely postulated.
Additional information about "fossil" men (often termed "prehistoric" men) is available in our free article "The Missing Link — Found."
• "Were there really such people as Adam and Eve? Did they actually have children — Cain, Abel and Seth?" There is legal documentation of the murder of Abel, Cain's trial before a judge, and Cain's sentencing (Gen. 4:8-16).
That legal document is the Bible!
The Old Testament is the only bona fide record which has been preserved down to our day telling of the lives of Adam and Eve — of the birth of Cain, Abel and Seth. It mentions what sort of personalities they had and the highlights of the times in which they lived. Christ's own physical genealogy was reckoned through Seth back to Adam. Physically, Adam and Seth both were Christ's ancestors (Luke 3). Jesus Christ accepted the testimony of the Old Testament record as authoritative.
He knew that Abel had existed — that he was a historical person. He referred to Abel's murder by Cain. Notice what Christ said to the religious leaders of His time: "That upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar" (Matt. 23:35).
The apostles referred to famous early human beings more than fifteen times in the New Testament. Genesis has always been accepted by true Christians as a valid and highly accurate record of early history. It simply does not make sense to profess a belief in the teachings of Christ and the apostles, and then at the same time refuse to accept their verification of Genesis.
• "Would you associate God with science and why?" The word "science" comes from the Latin word scientia meaning "knowledge." What we call "science" seeks to know, explain, and classify knowledge of the material universe. God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is also the Creator of true science. God, in His Word, encourages man to study the true sciences. "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20). Scripture also says, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Hence there is no conflict between true science and the true teaching of the Bible.
• "Could you please help me with something that has me really confused? From the time God created the heaven and earth until now is about 6,000 years. How then do they find trees and fossils that are claimed to be millions and millions of years old? Why did God have to create the earth if all these things were here? Please help me to clear this up." According to biblical chronology, God created Adam and Eve a little less than 6,000 years ago. However, biblical and geological evidence make it clear that the earth itself — not man — has existed for a longer time. The key to comprehending this little-known fact lies in the correct understanding of Genesis 1:1-2.
Something tremendous is indicated to have occurred between what is stated to have been the original creation of the earth (verse 1) and the statement in verse 2: "And the earth was [or as it could be better translated, "had become"] without form [Hebrew: tohu] and void." The Hebrew word tohu means "ruin, confusion, emptiness" (see any Hebrew-English lexicon). Yet Isaiah 45:18 shows that God did not create the earth in "vain" (same Hebrew word, tohu). So something occurred between Genesis 1:1 — the original creation of the earth — and Genesis 1:2 which introduces the creation week. What occurred between events and conditions described in these two verses is revealed in other biblical passages.
What is described in the seven 24-hour days of Genesis 1:2-31 is actually a new creation and a restoring to order (see Ps. 104:30). God made the earth a fit habitation for man.
• "How do we know how many hours were in a whole day at the time of creation week?" Theistic evolutionists and even theologians often say that the "days" described in the first chapter of Genesis are really "epochs" of time each perhaps representing a thousand or more years in length. A look at the creation account and a simple knowledge of nature clearly show how long they were.
Notice that plants were created on the third day. But the sun did not shine in full strength on the earth's surface until the fourth day. If these "days" were thousands of years long, then how could the plants have survived all that time without sunshine? Furthermore, the insects which pollinate many of these plants were not created until the sixth day!
Each day of creation week is not some long epoch, but exactly what the scripture says, a day and night of 24 hours. Each day is an evening and a morning — that is, nighttime and daytime.
A more complete study of this subject is available in our free reprint article "How Long Were the Days of Creation?"
• "Genesis 2:19 seems to indicate that God created the beasts of the field after He created Adam. Yet Genesis 1 definitely implies just the opposite. Would you explain?" Genesis 2, sometimes referred to as "the second account" of Creation, is a reiteration of Genesis 1 from a different viewpoint. Genesis 2 emphasizes the reason and purpose behind the creation of Adam and Eve, and describes God's method of creating as well as other conditions extant at the time.
The purpose of verse 19 is not to explain when God created the animals, but how, and to point out Adam's responsibility in naming each kind. God used the naming of these animals as an opportunity to show Adam that he — unlike the animals — lacked a female counterpart. Likewise, that is why verses 21-25 only concern themselves with telling us why and how the woman was created. It's obvious that Genesis 1 and 2 both speak of the same events and they mutually amplify each other. Genesis 1:24-31 tells us that God made mankind and other life forms on the sixth day. Genesis 2:19 is completely agree able with this order of creative events on the sixth day.
• "My granddaughter is eight years old and she wants to know 'Where did God come from?' First, I would appreciate your giving me an answer." As human beings we usually view things purely from a physical basis alone. We think of everything as having an origin. And on a strictly physical basis — that's true.
However, God Almighty is Spirit (John 4:24). And a spirit being is not bound by laws of time and space. All physical things have a beginning and an end, but spiritual things are eternal (II Cor. 4:18).
God Almighty inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15). He had no origin. He was "without father, without mother, with out descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life ..." (Heb. 7:3).
The very Hebrew name for "Lord" in the Old Testament — YHWH — means "Eternal" or the God that has always, and will always, exist.
These concepts are explained in greater detail in our free reprint article — "Has God Eternally Existed?"
• "If God took one of Adam's ribs in order to create Eve, why don't we find men today with one less rib?" In the 1500s Andreas Vesalius, Doctor of Anatomy, discovered that both men and women had the same number of ribs. It had long been assumed that because God had taken one of Adam's ribs (Gen. 2:21), that all males Adam's children — had one less rib than women.
Vesalius discovered one of God's natural laws. Each kind of life was designed by God to pass on to its offspring the characteristics God decreed for it at creation. Each must reproduce "after its kind" (Gen. 1:25).
This is a genetic law from creation. Operations and accidents do not change the genetics — the inherited characteristics — of an individual.
For example, male babies are always born uncircumcised — even to circumcised male fathers. And a man who loses an arm in an accident will not have children born with one arm — barring an unrelated birth defect.
• "Was the forbidden fruit an apple?" Biblical revelation does not mention the type of fruit Adam and Eve ate when they partook of the "forbidden fruit." Neither does any secular or profane historical source.
Actually, it is not important to know the identification of the forbidden fruit. The spiritual principle of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the more important point to consider today. It is poignantly revealed in our free booklet Why Were You Born?
• "Please explain Genesis 3:14-15." "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (verse 14).
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (verse 15).
In verse 14, Satan the devil was manifesting himself as a serpent (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The expression concerning going about on the belly and eating dust is used in other scriptures as symbolic of abasement (Ps. 72:9; Isa. 49:23; 65:25; Micah 7:17). Satan was originally named Lucifer a great archangel in charge of the pre-human earth. But he fell (Luke 10:18) in his attempted rebellion against God. He was cast back down to this earth and will be abased forever (Rev. 20:1-3; Jude 6).
Genesis 3:15 is the first biblical prophecy about the coming of a Messiah. It was given just after Adam and Eve's first sin.
Christ offers deliverance to mankind from the wages of sin (death) through His death on the cross and sub sequent resurrection from the dead (Heb. 9:25-26). How ever, as Genesis 3:15 says, the serpent would bruise Christ's heel, figuratively referring to the fact that Satan had a hand in crucifying Christ (John 13:27).
Christ, born of a woman, nullified Satan's power over men. Hebrews 2:14-15, rightly translated, says: "Since then the little children are sharers in blood and flesh, himself [Christ] also in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought [or "bruise," as Gen. 3:15 says] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all these who from fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
• "Where is the Garden of Eden today?" It's gone! Adam was ordered to dress and keep it (Gen. 2:15). He sinned and was driven out. We do not know how long it existed after the first humans were exiled, but if it was not destroyed earlier, the flood probably erased all traces of it.
God planted this garden in Eden about 6,000 years ago. Where was it located? The Bible does not dogmatically tell us. However, there is reason to believe that it existed somewhere in the area where much later Jerusalem was built. God has consistently used this area of the Holy Land to work out His plan of salvation. When Christ returns, the center of His earthly kingdom will be at Jerusalem (Zech. 14:17; Jer. 3:17).
Ezekiel 47:1-12 shows a river will be flowing out from Jerusalem during Christ's future reign, just as it did from the ancient Garden of Eden (see Gen. 2:10-14). Since this is the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21), we have another strong indication that God will re-establish His presence in the same locality as before (see Gen. 3:8, 23-24; 4:16}.
• "Can you tell me where Cain got his wife?" The answer becomes obvious when one considers the time factor of Genesis 4. Time obviously had elapsed since Adam's and Eve's creation. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel were not the only human beings on the earth when Cain killed Abel. By this time other children had been born to Adam and Eve. Genesis 5:4-5: "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died."
Notice that Adam begat daughters. It is quite obvious that Cain married one of his sisters — Adam's daughter. There simply weren't any unrelated females for him to marry. Adam was the first man (I Cor. 15:45), and Eve was the mother of all humans with the exception of Adam (Gen. 3:20).
Perhaps because of modern laws concerning marriage to those near of kin, many have not seen this obvious solution. But it was not wrong for brothers and sisters to marry at that early time in human history. Abraham married his half sister Sarah (Gen. 20:12). His brother Nahor married his brother Haran's daughter (Gen. 11:29). There was no genetic harm to the children. In fact, it was the manner in which the various racial characteristics were brought out of the original human stock. These early humans had great genetic variability, but as new generations appeared, mankind began to show definite racial groups and subdivisions. As men have become more racially distinct, it has become genetically harmful for close blood relatives to marry (see Lev. 18), and for the sake of future generations it should not now be done.
• "How many sons and daughters did Adam have?" The Bible gives us an abbreviated account of the lives of Adam's dominant children — Cain, Abel, and Seth — because of their profound effect on history. Aside from this we are only told that Adam "begat sons and daughters" (Gen. 5:4). No exact number is given. However, one Jewish tradition relates that Adam and Eve had 33 sons and 23 daughters.
• "What was Cain's mark mentioned in the book of Genesis?" This enigmatic question has puzzled many people for hundreds of years.
The word "mark" in Genesis 4:15 in the King James Version of the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew word owth. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Hebrew word owth may be rendered "mark," or "signal, flag, monument, sign, or beacon." Young's Analytical Concordance renders this word "sign." The Critical and Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown shows that this word can be translated "sign," "token" or "pledge."
The Hebrew word owth could indicate a boundary marker that God set up to separate or segregate Cain and his descendants from the rest of mankind. Genesis 4:12, 16 shows that God banished Cain to the land of Nod — meaning land of "wandering" — east of Eden or the Holy Land. The owth — mark or sign — that God made for Cain could also have been something to carry on his per son, perhaps around his neck — from which the ancient and modern custom of wearing a charm or talisman for protection may be derived.
The Jewish Publication Society translation renders Genesis 4:15, "And the Lord said unto him [Cain]: 'There fore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the Lord set a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him." The original Hebrew con veys both meanings — a mark on the person of Cain, or a sign set up to segregate him from others.
Some have thought that Cain's mark involved skin color. Cain's mark was not the changing of his skin color. Cain, in accordance with certain West African traditions, may well have been dark, but his sin was a matter of character. God created ALL races — white, yellow and black, to serve and glorify Him with their own particular abilities. God intended races from the very beginning by putting within Adam and Eve the genetic material to begin various races. Racial differences are not due to the "mark of Cain." Remember God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth . . ." (Acts 17:26). And He is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11).
• "Why did God create different races?" God created different races for the same reason that He created different kinds of birds, or varieties of roses. Each has a special beauty, usefulness and contribution to make. The racial problem is not a skin problem, but one of the human heart. Prejudice and hatred come from the mind. God created the different races to serve and help one another. The racial problem is but one more evidence that man needs a change of heart. Only then will everyone see that variety is the spice of life and racial differences were put there by a loving Creator to add to human happiness.
• "Where is the land of Nod?" "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden" (Gen. 4:16).
Cain was exiled to the land of Nod as punishment for brutally murdering his younger brother, Abel. It was located east of Eden. Eden was probably in the region of the Holy Land. So Nod was probably east of the region we now know as the Holy Land — the area where the twelve tribes of ancient Israel dwelled together.
The Hebrew word for "Nod" means "wandering." This was the land of Cain's wandering. It is a general area — not a specific geographical location.
• "The Bible says that Enoch 'was not, for God took him' (Gen. 5:24), and that he was 'translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him' (Heb. 11:5). What actually happened to Enoch? Where did he go? Where is he now?" At this moment Enoch is dead and in his grave. We know this because it clearly states in Hebrews that Enoch died in faith, not having received the promises (Heb. 11:5, 13). And Genesis 5:23 plainly states that all the days of Enoch were 365 years.
It is true that God dealt with Enoch in a unique manner. Enoch was one of those rare persons who realized the tremendous importance in living God's way. From age 65 until his death, three hundred years later, Enoch "walked with God" (Gen. 5:22). And God is always particularly concerned for those who put Him first in their lives.
You need our booklet titled Where are Enoch and Elijah? It explains more fully what happened to Enoch. Ask for it; it's free of charge.
• "Genesis 6:4 seems to indicate that angels married women prior to Noah's Flood. How could this possibly be true?" The biblical record reveals that angels are created spirits (Heb. 1:14). They are not mortal flesh like humans. Christ said in three places that angels do not marry. Angels are created spirits and do not reproduce by sexual intercourse or any other means (Luke 20:34-36; Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25).
With this understanding, read the first four verses of Genesis 6: "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose ... the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."
Who were these "sons of God"?
Obviously they were male human beings. Adam was a son of God by creation (Luke 3:38). And all of Adam's male descendants are sons of God in that sense.
Since these "sons of God" married women, they cannot be angels — notice the context of Genesis 6. "The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man ..." (verse 3). Here again the sons of God are called men. Because the sons of God sinned, God said: "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth" (verse 7).
Not one word about angels. Notice that God said because of sin He would destroy man — not angels. Angels are spirits and could not be destroyed by water. With the outpouring of the deluge "all flesh died ... and every man" (Gen. 7:21-23).
• "Some say there was no rain on the earth from the time of Adam to Noah. Is this what Genesis 2:5-6 means?" Genesis — the first book of the Old Testament — answers basic questions about origins. Genesis means "beginning" or "origin."
The second chapter of Genesis fills in various details of the creation account that the first chapter leaves out. When both chapters are taken together, they complement and mutually amplify each other.
With this in mind, observe what Genesis 2:5-6 actually says: "No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground; but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" (Jewish Publication Society translation).
Now consider these facts: (1) God causes rain — He set laws in motion to bring it about. There could be no rain if God had not set laws in motion to produce it. (2) Most important, Genesis 2:6 does not say that the mist descended upon the earth, as most assume. It says that a mist went UP FROM the earth! (3) Genesis 2:5-6 is speaking of a time prior to — not after — the third day of creation week. Notice the proof. The mist ascended from the earth before any shrubs or herbs appeared. Genesis 1:11-13 shows that the types of vegetation on earth today were not created until the third day. The mist that ascended before the third day was needed to prepare the soil for plant life on that day. The mist ascended according to the laws of evaporation, became clouds, descended as rain, and readied the land for vegetation.
Genesis 2:5-6 tells us who is the Originator or Maker of weather and climate. It tells us about the beginning of climate for the age of man. God is the Beginner or Originator of a climatic process set in motion on the third day of creation week. This process is still in effect today. It is common knowledge that clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor and mist that has first gone up from the earth by evaporation. Under certain conditions water droplets form and return to the earth as rain or other types of precipitation.
A mere mist without rain could not have sustained plant life over all the earth for the great length of time between Adam and Noah. The Bible is clearly telling us about the beginning of weather patterns to water the soon-to-be-created plant life.
The little word "yet" is clearly implied in the latter portion of Genesis 2:5: ". . . for the Lord God had not [that is, not YET] caused it to rain upon the earth.... "After¬ ward it did rain when the evaporation-condensation-precipitation cycle was begun by a gracious God who takes care of His creation and sustains it.
• "Did God intend man to eat meat before the Flood (Gen. 9:3)?" Abel offered a sacrifice of his flock before the Flood (Gen. 4:4). His occupation was keeping sheep (verse 2). Wouldn't it be a bit odd for a man to keep a large flock of animals just to offer an occasional sacrifice? The obvious indication is that he and others ate of the flocks.
The laws of clean and unclean animals were well known before the Flood. God told Noah to take seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and one pair of each unclean animal into the ark (Gen. 7:2). There is no record that God explained to Noah which animals were clean and which were unclean. This must have been common knowledge among those who followed God's way of life. Such knowledge was then important only if mankind was actually eating meat. (If you wish to understand the difference between biblically clean and unclean meats, read our free article "Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?")
The fossil record of the pre-Flood world indicates that man ate all types of meat before the Flood.
It is most likely that Genesis 9:3 is simply a reaffirmation from God to man that animal life would still be available for food — even though many animals had now been given a wild nature (see Gen. 9:2). They now had a fear of man which they did not have before the Flood. This made it more difficult (but not impossible) for man to hunt them for food. Neither did God go to the trouble of telling Noah about the differences between the clean and unclean when He commanded him, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you." Noah already knew the distinction.
• "I've asked several people if they knew who wrote the book of Genesis and no one can give me an answer. Can you help?" Pick up any authorized King James Version. Open it to the book of Genesis. The title is "The first book of Moses called Genesis."
Jesus said, in a conversation with certain religious leaders of His day, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:45-47). Here is Jesus' own personal testimony that Moses wrote Scripture.
But what part?
Jesus gave the division of the Old Testament in Luke 24:44: "... All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms [a representative book of the writings]." A little earlier, Jesus, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them [the disciples] in all the scriptures the things concerning himself' (verse 27). Jesus began with Moses because he wrote the Pentateuch — the first five books of the Bible. Each book bears Moses' name.