Life is like a book, full of mysterious passages, wonderful characters and evil villains. Each chapter of our lives has unexpected twists and lessons that we must face along the way. But, who’s guiding us through these chapters? Indeed! It’s God. But many people don’t realize this fact until they read their own story in the Bible.The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible, chronologically speaking. It begins with the creation story and describes how God created the world and everything on it. It also tells us about Adam and Eve, their descendants, and even the flood that destroyed much of humanity. Genesis ends with Jacob’s 12 sons beginning their new lives in Egypt.
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Genesis old or new testament
The Book of Genesis (from Greek Γένεσις, Génesis; Biblical Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית, romanized: Bərēʾšīṯ, “In [the] beginning”) is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, Bereshit (“In the beginning”). Genesis is an account of the creation of the world, the early history of humanity, and of Israel’s ancestors and the origins of the Jewish people.
Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy; however, modern scholars, especially from the 19th century onward, place the books’ authorship in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, hundreds of years after Moses is supposed to have lived. Based on scientific interpretation of archaeological, genetic, and linguistic evidence, most scholars consider Genesis to be primarily mythological rather than historical.
It is divisible into two parts, the primeval history (chapters 1–11) and the ancestral history (chapters 12–50). The primeval history sets out the author’s concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind’s relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, sparing only the righteous Noah and his family to re-establish the relationship between man and God. The ancestral history (chapters 12–50) tells of the prehistory of Israel, God’s chosen people. At God’s command, Noah’s descendant Abraham journeys from his birthplace (described as Ur of the Chaldeans and whose identification with Sumerian Ur is tentative in modern scholarship) into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob’s name is changed to “Israel”, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind (the covenant with Noah) to a special relationship with one people alone (Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob).
In Judaism, the theological importance of Genesis centres on the covenants linking God to his chosen people and the people to the Promised Land.
The Old Testament is the earliest source of Christianity and of life itself. It contains the history of our race, a history which reveals to us man in his most primitive state. The story it tells of our father Adam, who was the first human being and lived in the Garden of Eden, teaches us how God created man, gave him dominion over Himself and everything else on earth, then tempted him to do evil through Satan.
The Bible is a book that has been the basis for Christians and even non-Christians for thousands of years. Genesis and the book of revelation are both books in the old testament, but they are very different. There are many differences between Genesis and Revelation, but they are also very similar and relate to each other in many ways. Both books tell a story about God’s love for His chosen people, but each has its own unique perspective.
Did Moses write Genesis?
For many, the answer to this question is a matter of orthodoxy, and debates quickly become passionate. While it seems simple (the author is Moses or not), scholars don’t necessarily treat it as a yes or no question—they also have to consider that Moses may have written part of Genesis.
For some, orthodoxy simply suggests that Moses wrote the whole Pentateuch, perhaps with the exception of postmosaica passages such as Genesis 11:28 and 14:14 and amosaica passage such as Numbers 12:4.
On the other extreme are those who say that Moses wrote none of the Pentateuch, but rather the Pentateuch was composed much later than the time the Bible purported that he lived (if, in the minds of some, he lived at all).
In the following discussion, whatever we say about the Pentateuch pertains to the book of Genesis, though we will also on occasion refer specifically to the book of Genesis.
The book of genesis
Old Testament books seldom include a byline. So we look to outside sources to discover authorship. Jewish tradition and other biblical authors name Moses, the prophet and deliverer of Israel, as the author of the entire Pentateuch—the first five books of the Old Testament. His education in the courts of Egypt (Acts 7:22) and his close communion with Yahweh—the Hebrew name for God—support this premise. Jesus Himself confirmed Moses’s authorship (John 5:45–47), as did the scribes and Pharisees of His time (Matthew 19:7; 22:24).
From the Hebrew word toledoth, the first book of the Bible is titled “Genesis” in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures. The word means “beginning, origin,”¹ or generation and is a foundational theme that winds throughout the book.
Moses wrote Genesis for the people of Israel, whom he led out of slavery in Egypt back to the land of their forefathers. Genesis provides a history of those forefathers—their origins, their journeys, and their covenants with God. Because the events contained in the rest of the Pentateuch are responses to the promises of God found in Genesis, such a history of God’s interaction with their ancestors would have provided encouragement and inspiration to the former slaves seeking freedom and prosperity in the Promised Land.
Where are we?
The first eleven chapters of Genesis paint the early history of the human race in broad strokes. After the great flood, the focus narrows to God’s dealings with one family living in Mesopotamia, a family headed by Abram, later called Abraham. From the Euphrates River (in modern-day Iraq) over to what is now Syria, events move south into Canaan (modern-day Israel) and Egypt.
Genesis covers the most extensive period of time in all of Scripture, longer than the other books in the Bible combined! While the ancient history recounted in the first eleven chapters gives no indication of time span, Abram’s story begins around 2091 BC (Genesis 12:1), and the book ends with Joseph’s death in Egypt around 1805 BC (50:26).
Why is Genesis so important?
To the original readers of Genesis, the book was valued as a history of their people. It told them the story of how God created the world and dealt with all humanity until He initiated a personal relationship with their forefather Abraham. Genesis revealed to them the eternal promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—promises which extended to their descendants. It provided comfort and hope for the downtrodden Hebrews as they waited to return to their “promised land.”
For later readers, Genesis offers a thorough background to the rest of the Bible. Here we learn ancient history and geography and are introduced to significant people and events found later in the Bible. God also reveals many facets of His nature through His dealings with people. We learn of the origin of sin, of its destructive effect on humanity, and of God’s plan to atone for that sin through a future Son of the people of Israel (Genesis 3:15; 22:18; 49:10).
What’s the big idea?
The Bible is divided into two major parts, the Old and New Testaments. Testament is another word for covenant. Covenants figure prominently into the story of Genesis, for they help define God’s relationship with His people at various times. Sin broke the perfect peace between God and humanity (Genesis 3) and instead of enjoying the blessing God intended, humanity was burdened with the curse. But God established His plan for redemption and blessing through covenants, first with Abraham (Genesis 12:1–5), reaffirmed with Isaac (26:1–35), then with Jacob (28:1–22). These promises applied to the Israelites in Egypt and to later generations. Genesis sets the stage for the rest of God’s plan to redeem the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.
How do I apply this?
It’s easy to get lost in the genealogies and accounts in Genesis without seeing the big picture. Keep God, not just the people, in mind as you read through the book. Consider His character qualities. If you were an Israelite just released from slavery and reading this for the first time, would you marvel at God’s power over creation? Or His anger over sin?Or the way He fulfilled His promises to everyone? Awareness of each of these characteristics should evoke worship . . . and hope. Remember that the Lord is strong, faithful, and just. And His desire to bless His creation will one day be fully realized.
Passages that refer to Moses’ writing
Right from the start it is important to note that the Pentateuch is anonymous. Nowhere in the Pentateuch is an author named, not Moses or any other person. However, that said, a number of passages in the Pentateuch mention that Moses wrote things down.
Consider the following:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it . . .’”
“When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’ Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.”
“At the Lord’s command Moses recorded [wrote down] the stages in their journey.”
“After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end . . .”
And these references are just a sample of a number of other passages that could be cited (see also Exodus 24:12; 34:28; Deuteronomy 27:3, 8; 31:19).
None of these passages concern the writing of the book of Genesis.
Certainly the passages that speak of Moses writing things down do not claim that Moses wrote the entirety of the Pentateuch, but they do imply that Moses wrote material that was incorporated into the Pentateuch.
With this in mind, we turn now to references to the “book of the law of Moses” or “the book of Moses” (with variants) found in biblical books that follow the Pentateuch.
Here are just a few examples:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips . . .”
2 Chronicles 25:4
“Yet he did not put their children to death, but acted in accordance with what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded . . .”
“On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people . . .”
These references to the Book or Law of Moses are not necessarily, and until the postexilic period are unlikely, indicating the Pentateuch in its final form as we know it, but still they attest to some body of writing that was connected to the figure of Moses.
The New Testament appears to consider Moses the author
When we come to the New Testament, however, these references are more likely to refer to the final form of the Pentateuch. They still do not necessarily mean that Moses wrote every word, but they do imply a belief that Moses had an integral connection with the composition of the Pentateuch.
In the New Testament, when quoting the Pentateuch, people often spoke of Moses being the author. For example, the disciples, referring to Deuteronomy 24:1–4, questioned Jesus, “ ‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ ” (Matthew 19:7).
Jewish leaders asked Jesus a question based on Deuteronomy 25:5–10 by saying, “‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him’ ” (Matthew 22:24).
Jesus himself, quoting the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) and a case law (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9), said, “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death” (Mark 7:10). For other New Testament references see Mark 12:26; John 1:17, 5:46, 7:23.
In light of the references to Moses’ writing in the Pentateuch and the New Testament citations of the Pentateuch that associate Moses with its composition, it seems reasonable to affirm that the origins of the Pentateuch are connected to this great biblical figure.
What about postmosaica passages?
But to say that the composition, even the origins, of the Pentateuch is to be associated with Moses certainly does not mean he wrote every word. Traditional approaches to this question acknowledge that Moses did not write the entirety of the Pentateuch when they point to a so-called postmosaica.
Postmosaica are passages that had to be written after the death of Moses, and of course, the most obvious postmosaica is the account of his death in Deuteronomy 34. There are postmosaica in the book of Genesis as well.
While Ur is an ancient city predating Moses, the reference to Ur of the Chaldeans (see Genesis 11:31) is a postmosaica since the Chaldeans were an Aramaic-speaking tribe that lived in the first millennium BC, long after the death of Moses.
In Genesis 14:14 the narrator reports that Abram chased the four ancient Near Eastern kings who kidnapped Lot “as far as Dan.” This reference to the city of Dan is a postmosaica because this city, earlier called Laish, was not named Dan until the time of the Judges (see Judges 18), and of course the name derived from the tribe of Dan, named after Jacob’s son Dan, Abraham’s great grandson.
Do we really know what Moses did and didn’t write?
No. While some people believe that Moses wrote everything in the Pentateuch except a handful of postmosaica, the postmosaica may only be the tip of the iceberg. These postmosaica establish a principle that later inspired editors/redactors can contribute to the writing of the Pentateuch.
In Genesis, the narrative speaks of events that take place long before the birth of Moses. It is interesting that Moses is never mentioned in the book even as the person writing things down.
Instead, we encounter a formula that appears eleven times in the book (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, 9; 37:2). This formula is introduced by the words elleh toledot and a person’s name, “This is the account of [name].” These sections indicate the use of oral and/or written sources (see 5:1) for the writing of the book of Genesis.
Taking seriously the indications within the Pentateuch itself, along with the post-pentateuchal references to the Book/Law of Moses, one might conclude that the Pentateuch finds its origins in Moses, who used other sources particularly in the writing of Genesis.
The postmosaica indicate that there were also editorial additions. These additions may only be the most obvious examples of textual material added after the time of Moses and we cannot determine precisely what was authored by Moses or added by later inspired editors.
So, ”Who wrote Genesis?” We’ll likely never know with absolute certainty. But based on the evidence available, it’s fair to attribute its origins to Moses.
New Testament vs. Old Testament
The Old Testament is the first division of the Christian Bible. It is a collection of books which varies from church to church and dates earlier than the New Testament. The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian Bible. It is also known as the New Law or New Covenant.
|New Testament||Old Testament|
|Number of Books||27 Books||39 In Protestant Old Testaments; 51 In Catholic Old Testaments; 55 In Orthodox Bibles; 57 In Coptic Bibles|
|Vocabulary||The New Testament contains a vocabulary of 4,800 words.||The Old Testament contains a vocabulary of 5,800 words.|
|Content||The New Testament focuses more on the life and teachings of Jesus and the Christian church.||The Old Testament explains the history of the creation of the World, the exodus of Israelites, and the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God.|
|What is it||The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian Bible.||Old Testament is the first division of the Christian Bible.|
|Languages||Greek||Hebrew and Aramaic|
|What you have to do to be forgiven?||All you have to do is to repent and you’re forgiven automatically.||You have to bring a lamb as a sacrifice for your sin to be forgiven.|
|GOD’s Identity||Trinity of God. (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.||The Lord is the only God (is 42:8; Is 44:6)|
|END TIMES||Jesus came to save the Earth||God (YHWH/Adonai) will send a messenger to bring salvation on earth.|
The Old Testament is the first division and the only source for the history of Israel and Judah, the earliest material dates back to 12th century BC. The Old Testament is similar to the Hebrew Bible and varies primarily in the order of books. In the Old Testament the Book of Malachi is placed last whereas in the Hebrew Bible the Book of Chronicles comes last. The Greek translation of the Bible, known as Septuagint, forms the basis of the Orthodox churches as well as Eastern Old Testament. The Latin translation of the Septuagint known as the Vetus Latina originally formed the basis of the Old Testaments in the Western churches, and was later replaced by Jerome’s Vulgate. Protestant churches follow the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.
The first record of the New Testament – Ryland Library Papyrus P52, is found dated between 117 and 138 A.D. The original texts have been written by various authors in Koine Greek. Later these books were made into a single volume and consist of a twenty-seven book canon or set.
Differences in Content
The Old Testament is written with a vocabulary of 5,800 words whereas the New Testament is written with a vocabulary of 4,800 words.
The contents and order of books of the Old Testament varies in different churches. The Orthodox communion has 51 books and the Protestant communion has 39 books. The books include the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus and Peshitta. There are books of poetry, thanksgiving, wisdom proverbs and prophets.
The New testament may contain additional books such as Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus Seirach, Baruch to name a few, and also some additions to other sections of the Bible. The New Testament contains the gospels, which are the four narratives of Jesus’ life and death, narratives of the Apostles’ ministries, epistles which are twenty one early letters written by different authors, and an Apocalyptic Prophecy. These books focus on the life of Christ, his teachings and also a book of prophecy that predicts the end of time.
Teachings of the Old vs the New Testament
The Old Testament provides the basis of the present day Judeo-Christian faith. It talks about the history of how the world was created, exodus of Israelites, and the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God, and also includes real life stories. The function of this text is to teach people through the experiences of people throughout history. Several books also foretell the arrival of the Messiah and the end of the world.
The New Testament, on the other hand, focuses more on the life and teachings of Jesus and the Christian church. The stories are narrated through gospels and emphasize the importance of the sacrifice of Jesus. The function of the New Testament is to lead people to follow the example of Jesus more closely. The other books, written by various authors also talk about the end of the world and last battle between good and evil.