Index: Genesis

Genesis is a historical narrative that likely originated with separate oral units of history that were combined into a written volume. For issues related to science, I recommend my friends at Creation Ministries International.

Genesis 1-2
Does Genesis teach a solid sky?
Genesis 1:1-2:4
Genesis 1:26, 3:22
Does this verse teach polytheism?
Genesis 1:28
What does "replenish the earth" mean? [Off Site]
Genesis 2:17, 3:16
"It says that Adam and Eve would 'surely die' if they ate of the tree, so why are they still alive???"
Genesis 3:9
Does this verse indicate that God is not omniscient?
Genesis 3:14
Is this verse wrong about snakes eating dirt? See also here.
Genesis 3:15
Did God curse women with pain? [Off Site] Also, Do Christians misuse this verse? Also, did the incident constitute "entrapment"? No -- our "modern-day courts of law" have some pretty detailed descriptions of what constitutes "entrapment", and this doesn't fit it, even if the purpose of the Tree was to test/tempt the obedience of the First Couple. Entrapment as a defense first was brought up in the case of Sorrells vs. United States in the late 1870s. Since then, there has been quite a bit of discussion and definition about it, but it is fully agreed that "entrapment" only occurs when an official intends by actions or words to encourage someone to commit a crime, exercising direct influence upon them in some fashion. To quote the definition from that case: "Entrapment is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion, or fraud of the officer." Let's illustrate with some practical examples:

  1. A police officer who leaves a bale of marijuana in the street and orders people who see him do it not to touch it or smoke it is not engaged in entrapment.
  2. A police officer who leaves a bale of marijuana in the street and says nothing to anyone about it, but instead waits around to see if anyone picks it up or smokes it, may be engaged in entrapment. This is where the courts have had a lot of discussion, but entrapment is more likely to stick as a defense if the person who ends up committing the crime is not inclined to commit such crimes in the first place or has no record of committing the crime, and yet the officer does something to actively encourage the crime. (I.e., "Hey, wanna smoke some dope?" -- repeated even after refusals!)
  3. On the other hand, "If the accused is found to be predisposed, the defense of entrapment may not prevail." Thus, "sting" operations are not considered to be entrapment.

So which of these fits the Garden situation? The first one does, but of course we would never see any police officer do such a thing anyway! Some might see the second as what actually happened, but they would have a hard time justifying that, unless they could prove that God made the Tree of Knowledge thoroughly irresistible, or Himself encouraged them to disobey His command, and we have no indication that that is the case. In fact, if ANYONE is guilty of entrapment in the story, it's the serpent.

Genesis 3:20
If Eve is the "mother of all living" then what of Melchizedek, who is described as "without mother"? A point to begin is that "living" in Hebrew carries the meaning of fleshly life. Then we need to know that Melchizedek was regarded by the Qumaranites as a heavenly being, and that Hebrews shares this idea (see Pate, Communities of the Last Days, index cites of Melchizedek). Therefore Melchy is not considered in the category delineated in Gen. 3:20.
Genesis 3:22
Is this verse "anti-reason"?
Genesis 4:8-15
Was Cain's punishment too lenient? -- also addresses the question of what sort of life Cain had to lead
Genesis 4:17
Where did Cain get his wife?
Genesis 5
References to longevity before the Flood in non-Biblical sources [Off Site]
Genesis 5:24
Who ascended first -- Jesus or Enoch?
Genesis 5:32, 7:6, 11:10
After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth...Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth...This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. Looking at these together, Skeptics may deduce that Shem must have been 102, not 100, when he bore Arphy. This is probably attributable to copyist error or else "rounding" of years in the typical ANE style, in which any part of a year is considered a whole year. But a reader added this idea: Genesis 5:32 does not state that Shem was born when Noah was 500. It simply implies that Noah was 500 before he become a father of any (or all) of his three sons. Shem's birth 98 years before the flood (in harmony with Genesis 11:10) would make Noah 502 at the time, thus proving the non-existence of any contradiction. Additionally, the fact that Shem was listed first in Genesis 5:32 does not imply that Shem was the oldest. Genesis 9:22-24 proves that, although Ham is listed second in various lists of Noah's sons, Ham is actually the youngest! Similarly, Genesis 10:21 shows that (according to an alternate reading in the margin of the NASB), Japheth was actually the oldest son. Therefore, it is very possible that Shem was actually the middle child. The reason for Shem being listed first was his direct connection to Abraham, the father of the Hebrews.
Genesis 6:2, 4
If Jesus is God's only son, what about these "sons of God"? Critics need to read carefully: Jesus is described as God's only begotten son -- all others are sons of God via other means (whether by adoption or by authority). But what are these "sons of God"?
Genesis 6:3
Skeptic C. Dennis McKinsey claims that this verse rules out any possibility of an Incarnation as happened with Jesus, for it says that God's spirit will not "abide" with man. This verse has no application to the Incarnation, for given the declamation that man's days shall be 120 years, and that lifespans steadily decrease after this, it seems clear that the reference is to God's "spirit" in the sense of "breath," that is, His protective power and preservation (as the Holy Spirit in NT times) and that this verse has nothing to do with "abiding" in man in the sense of an incarnation. Akkadian and Aramaic language parallels support our interpretation.
Genesis 6:6-7
Does God change his mind?
Genesis 6:8
How likely is it that Noah was the only righteous person on earth? [Off Site]
Genesis 7:1
Is Noah described as sinless -- contrary to the teaching of Romans 3?
Genesis 7:2, 8-9
How many of each kind of animal on the ark?
Genesis 8:22
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease -- One Skeptic asks how this can be reconciled with the occurrence of famine, especially Gen. 41:54, The famine was over all the face of the earth. One is more hard-pressed to see how this presents a problem. Just because there is a famine does not mean that people are unable to plant and harvest, which would have been the case during the flood. It just means that the yield from the crops is very low, and not enough to meet current demand. The terms here in fact refer to planting seasons, not activity or results.

Genesis 9:4
Does this verse support the Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrine against blood transfusion?
Genesis 9:20-27
Do these passages condemn homosexuality?
Genesis 10:5
From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language. How can this be so, since Babel was yet in the future and there was still one language? Modern translations make this a parenthetical note, an expression of what would take place - not an event that was presently in effect.

Genesis 11:4
Does this verse teach a limited sky?
Genesis 11:5
Does this verse indicate that God is not omnipresent?
Genesis 11:32, 12:4
When did Abraham leave home? -- see also this item [Off Site]
Genesis 12:3, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14
In thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed.... One Skeptic thinks that not all have been blessed through the Jews: "Even supposing, for argument’s sake, that Christianity is a blessing, prophecy remains unfulfilled. The Chinese, the Hindus, the Jews, the Muslims, and, in fact, most of humanity does not accept Jesus as their savior. The interfamily strife that Jesus promised in several verses, and the national and religious strife that have arisen from Christianity throughout the centuries, can hardly be described as a blessing on all nations, whatever benefits it may have conferred on some." Well, of course, if Christianity is in fact true, then it has been a blessing to all nations, as people from every nation have come to Christ. The text does not say Abraham will be a blessing to every individual. But there is another aspect to this prophecy. Even in a temporal sense, Abraham’s descendants have contributed greatly to the human race by their many contributions to banking, economics, law, government, the arts, science, and medicine.
Genesis 12:10-20, 20:1-18, 26:1-11
Do these pericopes support the JEDP hypothesis?
Genesis 14:12, 14, 16
Is Lot Abraham's brother, or his nephew? Our English language makes strict demarcations between the words "brother" and "nephew". But in 14:12 the translation "nephew" in our English Bibles is arrived at by noting that Lot is called "son-of-brother", the word for son ( ben ) being in the construct state. In verses 14 and 16, however, Lot is referred to as ach , (spelled aleph-cheyth with the vowel under aleph being qamets, see page 26 of BDB) which has a variety of semantic shadings to it, such as brother, relative, kinsman, and associate.
Genesis 14:14
  • Is the mention of the "Dan" an anachronism? This foundational article deals with the general problem of alleged Biblical anachronisms and answers the issue of this verse.
  • Is Lot Abram's brother, or nephew? The Hebrew word here has a broad affinity that refers to any male kindred or even associate, as in Gen. 9:5: "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man."
  • Genesis 15 and 17
    Do these pericopes support the JEDP hypothesis?
    Genesis 15:13
    Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years." Is this in contradiction with Ex. 12:40, which says 430 years? No, because Exodus gives the number of years that the people lived in Egypt; this verse gives the number of years they were enslaved and mistreated -- the enslavement/mistreatment did not start right away!
    Genesis 17:1
    Can God be seen, or not?
    Genesis 17:4, 15-16
    As for Sarai thy wife... I will bless her...and she shall be a mother of nations....Thou shalt be the father of many nations. One Skeptic says: "Apparently the only nations descended from Sarah and Abraham were the Hebrews, the Ishmaelites, the Midianites, and the Edomites." Well, how many is "many"? If a baseball team hits four home runs in an inning, that’s considered many. Similarly, most people in history haven’t been the father (or mother) of ANY nations, so to be the father of four is quite an accomplishment. (Actually Ishmaelites are a sort of sub-class, like gypsies, rather than a nation proper, but according to tradition they are the ancestors of the modern Arab countries, which would be even more nations to Abraham's credit.)

    Genesis 18:21
    Does this verse indicate that God is not omnipresent?
    Genesis 18:23-33
    Does God change his mind?
    Genesis 19:1-11
    Do these verses condemn homosexuality?
    Genesis 20:11-12
    Is the Bible contradictory about lying with your sister?
    Genesis 21:14-21
    Does this passage support the JEDP hypothesis?
    Genesis 21:31, 26:33
    When was Beersheba named -- when Abraham did it, or Isaac? Read this one carefully: What Abraham names is a place where he digs a well. Isaac has a well also, but he names a city. Isaac is naming the city in memory of the "well event" under Abe because it is similar circumstances.
    Genesis 21:32, 34
    Is the mention of the Philistines an anachronism? This foundational article deals with the general problem of alleged Biblical anachronisms and links to an answer to the issue of this verse.
    Genesis 22:1
    Does God tempt people?
    Genesis 22:2
  • Does God endorse human sacrifice?
  • On this incident, and the definition of "faith" per Soren Kierkegaard
  • How could God order the sacrifice of Isaac? [Off Site]
  • Genesis 22:12
    Does this verse indicate that God is not omniscient?
    Genesis 24:10
    Is reference to camels anachronistic? [Off Site]
    Genesis 25:1-2
  • How many kids did Abraham have?
  • Was Keturah a wife, as this verse says, or a concubine (per 1 Chr. 1:32)? The use of "wife" is a KJV messup. The Hebrew word is ishshah, which means any woman and includes the meaning of "wife".
  • Genesis 26:1, 8, 14-5, 18
    Is the mention of the Philistines an anachronism? This foundational article deals with the general problem of alleged Biblical anachronisms and links to an answer to the issue of this verse.
    Genesis 26:2
    Can God be seen, or not?
    Genesis 28:5, 29:5
    Was Laban the son of Bethuel (28:5) or Nahor (29:5)? Both -- the word "son" is a broad-meaning word referring to any male descendant.
    Genesis 28:13
    ...the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. One Skeptic says, "Jacob never received the promised land." The answer: when God says "thee" he is referring to Jacob’s descendants, not the specific person of Jacob. No? Let’s carry that logic into the next verse: "...and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and THOU shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south..." Now, while people of antiquity didn’t have access to Weight Watchers cuisine and those wonderful ab flexers, I think it is reasonable to assume that things weren’t quite this bad. (For a related subject, see here.)
    Genesis 30:39
    Is the Bible teaching magical genetics?
    Genesis 32:30
    Can God be seen, or not?
    Genesis 35:9
    Can God be seen, or not?
    Genesis 35:10, 46:2
    In the former verse God gave Jacob the name "Israel," but in the latter still calls him Jacob? Did God forget? No -- 35:10 involves a negation idiom that stresses the importance of Jacob's newer name. It is also a recognized part of ANE culture that people and places could have more than one name, each of which was used as circumstances dictated.
    Genesis 35:19
    Where is Rachel's tomb -- on the road to Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19) or at Zelzah (1 Sam. 10:2)? There's a couple of things to be said here. First, it is open to question whether "Zelzah" is even a place name. The LXX renders the word as an adverb, "in great haste". There is also no other known geographic reference to this place. Indeed, one wonders if it is one, whether it could not be the very place described in Gen. 35:19. But even if it is not, there is another answer: This would likely be a case of a purposeful reburial done to move Rachel's body to a more honorable location.
    Genesis 36:31
    Is this verse an anachronism? This foundational article deals with the general problem of alleged Biblical anachronisms. This verse is an example of a later scribal gloss of the sort we describe herein.
    Genesis 37
    Midianites or Ishmaelites? Also, does the use of the name "Potiphar" indicate an anachronism? Some critics say so, and in a sense they are right, but it is the sort of anachronism we find in all other historical writings. As Wenham notes in his commentary on Genesis [357], while the form of the name "Potiphar" used in Genesis is from a later time, there were earlier forms of the same name of which the later form would be a proper rendering. Critics who reject this as "far-fetched" do so out of loss for an actual answer and do not address the point that such anachronisms are indeed known quantities from ancient texts (names are among the things most commonly updated in texts).
    Genesis 38:9-10
    Was God unfair to Onan?
    Genesis 42:26-7
    How many went to Egypt with Jacob?
    Genesis 44:20, 22
    How old was Benjamin? Some see contradiction between these verses, which they suppose imply a child, and 46:8, 21 which refer to Ben's kids. On the surface this isn't even a problem since it only reflects what Joseph's brothers say to Joseph, trying to get out of the tight spot of bringing Benjamin to him. However, none of the words here require seeing Benjamin as particularly young. "Child" is yeled, meaning any offspring and is also used of the older brothers (see here). "Little one" can mean smallest, youngest, or least. "Lad" (44:22) is na'ar and means any boy from infancy to adolescence, but it also means a servant. The brothers imply that Benjamin serves Jacob in his old age.
    Genesis 46:4
    I(God) will go down with thee (Jacob) into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. One Skeptic writes, "According to Hebrew the phrase "and Joseph" should have been translated as "then Joseph" In other words, the prophecy was that Jacob would return to Israel from Egypt while still alive. Yet one need only read Gen. 47:28-30 and see that Jacob died in Egypt before his entry into Israel." Neither the NIV, NRSV, NASB, or KJV translates "and" as "then", and the Skeptic thus provides no scholarly support for his argument. In any event, one need only read v. 3, "do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there", to see what is going on. "You" in v. 4 is then referring to Jacob’s descendants, otherwise Jacob was a great nation all by himself.
    Genesis 49:13
    Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon. A Skeptic writes, "Two aspects of this prophecy are false. The borders of Zebulun never extended to the sea and never reached the city of Sidon." This was true as to the initial distribution of the land, but the borders were shifted from time to time. In regards to shore dwelling, Josephus (Ant. V 1:22) says that Zebulun’s lot included "that which belonged to Carmel and the sea." As for Sidon, the term was sometimes used as a synecdoche for Phoenicia as a whole (Judg. 3:3, 1 Kings 17:9), and their territory did stretch down to Zebulun at one point.