Not long ago, I studied the book of Genesis, and boy did I enjoy it. It opened up my eyes to a deeper understanding of the knowledge, character, and nature of God, unlike any other book I had studied before.  And since I wrote down what I learned, I thought it would be a good idea to share it here.

In his book, ‘The Lie: Evolution’, Ken Ham says “Every single Biblical doctrine of theology, directly or indirectly, ultimately has its basis in the book of Genesis.” And I agree.

So here are some of the lessons about God or doctrines if you will, that begin in Genesis and are found in the rest of the Bible. If you haven’t read Genesis yet, I hope that it sparks the desire in you to study the book as I did.

Every single Biblical doctrine of theology directly or indirectly, ultimately has its basis in the book of Genesis.
Ken Ham

God’s Grace

Before studying Genesis, I had this preconceived notion that the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) were perfect. All thanks to the Bible stories I heard in Sunday School not to mention the stellar accounts of their faith in the New Testament ( Heb 11). 

They appeared to have impeccable character,  unwavering faith, and flawless. So as you can imagine, I was in for a surprise when I came to realize that was somewhat far from the truth. 

If you’ve read Genesis, then you know Israel’s “roots” were flawed and at times downright wicked. I believe the Israelites were unable to reflect on their ancestry with any sense of arrogance or pride. There were too many cases of failure to do that. 

Instead, they had to admit that their blessings were a direct outcome of grace. 

For example, the 19th chapter of Genesis details the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is one of the most disappointing parts of this book as it narrates an event where Lot without hesitation, was willing to give his daughters to depraved men who wanted to have sexual relations with the angels he was hosting.  

I have to admit that were it not for Apostle Peter, I wouldn’t have regarded the character known as Lot as righteous:

and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);
2 Peter 2:7‭-8 ESV

In chapter 21, we see Sarah at her worst. Out of what I think was jealousy, she had Hagar and Ishmael sent away. Moses’ description of Sarah in this chapter seems to conflict with Peter’s description here:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
1 Peter 3:3‭-‬6 ESV

Peter’s use of Sarah as an illustration of humility and submission overlooks her faults. Likewise, the author of Hebrews describes Abraham and Sarah as people with the kind of faith we should imitate. 

A black woman wearing blue jeans seated outside reading the book of Genesis

Furthermore, as if they never sinned at all only their strengths are recorded in the New Testament. I believe it is because of the blood of Christ that their sins were left out of the conversation. And it speaks volumes about the grace of God found in Christ. Indeed there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

Scripture only records the sins of men in the Old Testament to serve as a reminder that these men and women were sinners like us. And to warn us not to make the same mistakes that they did.

There are many accounts such as these where the characters in Genesis fall short. And if you’re like me, you wouldn’t help but wonder? How it is that God would choose such a people to be His nation. How could he choose them to be a part of His salvation plan for mankind? Being omniscient, He must have known of their sins and failures beforehand. 

In spite of that, God decided that they would be His covenant people. Not based on their merit but on His faithfulness and grace. This very same grace is available in Jesus Christ for all who believe in Him. Oh, how humbling!

God’s Providence

If someone would ask me to summarize the book of Genesis in two words. This would be it. God’s providence is God’s work that often goes unnoticed at the time it’s being carried out. God’s providence is when God’s purpose is accomplished in unexpected ways. 

As well as through people, we never would have picked ourselves. Through God’s providence, the grace of God manifests itself in the lives of men. 

In other books, we see God working through disobedient individuals, like Jonah, or unbelievers like Pharaoh or his daughter. God’s providence directs people toward his purposes and promises that He foreordained.

God’s providence is a theme that keeps recurring in the book of Genesis. A good example would be chapters 37, 38, and 39  Here, God is working behind the scenes in the life of Judah and his brothers to carry out His promise to make the descendants of Jacob a great and mighty nation (35:11). And to ensure that His promise to send a Messiah will happen through the lineage of Judah (49:8-12) although he’s actively pursuing sin. 

Perhaps it wasn’t evident to them at the time, but God was providentially using every aspect of their lives. Including every event and failure, to achieve His purposes. 

From these stories, it would be wrong to assume that our faithfulness and obedience are necessary for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. The idea that God is somehow constrained by man’s depravity is untrue. And I’m glad that God’s plans do not depend on our dedication and reliability.

That is why one of the most comforting truths contained in the Bible is that of divine providence. It gives the assurance that God will carry out His promises even when we are actively resisting them. 

Think about it. What kind of promise would eternal redemption be if it didn’t rely on God’s goodness and strength? It would have failed miserably. For who can carry out His will despite man? But since God’s promise is certain ( Philippians 1:6 ). I can strive hard knowing that I cannot fail. Even when I am weak at heart or choose to go my way of disobedience or rebellion, God doesn’t fail.

Nonetheless, we shouldn’t forget that leading a holy life is important for God’s glory. We have seen him work through disobedient men. However, it should not make you less motivated to seek out and obey God’s will. 

A great example of this is the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers in Gen 37. God was working providentially through his suffering in Egypt to preserve the nation of Israel (and especially Judah) through whom the Messiah would come.

Despite his misfortunes, he led a righteous life. One that glorified God to the extent that Pharaoh, a pagan King, admitted he had the spirit of God (Gen 41:38). Joseph’s character is one that Christians should aspire to emulate.

Moreover, through Joseph’s story, we learn that God is able to use even the painful seasons of your life, as part of His providential plan and Joseph understood this. That is why he forgave his brothers and thanked God for the period when they sold him into slavery. He was aware that God used what they meant for evil for their ultimate good. (Gen. 50:20).

Knowing that God’s purpose will be carried out in the end nevertheless is a great source of comfort. But should we be tempted to neglect our spiritual life, let us keep in mind that God wants to be glorified in His saints (Genesis 49:3; II Thessalonians 1:10,12).

To learn more about God’s sovereignty check out our blog post on God’s Divine Providence: What it is and Why it Matters.

God’s Sovereignty

God’s sovereignty is God’s right and power to do as he pleases ( Psalm 115:3; 135: 6; Job 42:2; Psalm 16:9;). It’s safe to say God’s sovereignty runs in tandem with His divine providence. It also ties in with His divine grace and election which we’ll look into next.

God’s sovereign power and purposes are best accomplished through obedient servants. This would undoubtedly be the ideal situation. However, in the book of Genesis, we see that the power of God is not limited to obedient servants. It also works through unwilling, disobedient men and women. 

Despite themselves, they fulfill God’s purposes. Albeit, painfully on most occasions Genesis 16; 27; 34; 38.

To learn more about God’s sovereignty check out our blog post on Understanding the Sovereignty of God.

A seated woman with an open Bible on the table reading the book of Genesis

God’s Divine Election

Divine election is when God chooses people to accomplish his purposes based on His sovereign will. 

In Genesis, God chose Abraham to make a covenant with him. He then chose Sarah, not Hagar or Keturah, to be the mother of his promised child. Isaac was also chosen by God to be Abraham’s heir before he was even born. It was through him that the promised blessings would come although Abraham had other offspring.

We also see divine Election in action when God spoke to Rebekah in Genesis 25 saying that she would give birth to twins. A nation would come from each child and one of these two nations would triumph over the other. 

It was customary for the covenant blessings to be given to the firstborn son first. But in this case, the birthright was to be given to the younger son by the father (Genesis 48:13–20). Meaning that the older would serve the younger. However, this was not the rule rather, it was the exception based on the principle of divine election.

The principle of divine election in this story is important to understand here. Because God predetermined that the younger twin would have the birthright even before the children were born. That is why the Apostle Paul used this instance to illustrate this principle in Romans 9:

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Romans 9:10‭-13 ESV

The choosing of Jacob over Esau, according to Paul, had nothing to do with their conduct. God, in His omniscience, knew all their deeds from eternity’s past. In spite of his performance, Jacob was chosen while still in the womb based on God’s merit. 

Another illustration is in Genesis 38. From this chapter’s events, who would have imagined that there was even a remote possibility that the messianic line would continue through Judah? 

Here was Judah, the patriarch of the Messiah, taking a Canaanite wife, breaking his word to his daughter-in-law, and having relations with her while disguising herself as a ‘ cult prostitute’. As a result, Perez was born. 

Despite Judah’s sins and the circumstances within which Perez was born, God chose him to be the ancestor of David and the Messiah (Matt 1:3). Only God could have made such a thing happen.

This further asserts that the election of God is unconditional. God does not choose people based on the good works they will do in the future. Rather, he does so out of sovereign choice and grace. 

This doctrine affords comfort: thy unworthiness may dismay thee, but remember that thy election depends not upon thy worthiness but upon the will of God.
Elnathan Pam

However, while a man’s works are not the basis for his election, a man’s sins are justifiable grounds for God to reject him. The main message of the Bible is that people suffer for all eternity because they did not choose God. Not that they go to Hell because God did not choose them.

The beauty of divine election is evident in this: that in the end, God has chosen us to be His children. (Of course, this only applies to those who trust in Christ for eternal salvation.) He sanctifies us despite ourselves just as He saves us despite our sins. 

Our salvation, sanctification, and assurance of eternity are dependent upon His faithfulness, not our own. For those whose faith wavers, this is a great source of comfort as well.


The book of Genesis provides a thorough foundation for the rest of the Bible. Besides learning about history, it introduces important characters and events that appear later in the Bible. 

God also makes many aspects of His character known to us through this book. It is here that we learn about the fall of man and its consequences. It is also here that God kicks off a plan to redeem mankind from sin. By sending a future Son, Jesus Christ, from His chosen House of Israel (Genesis 3:15,49:10).


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