Adam and Eve

THE MAN STANDS hunched beside his wife. Together they look down at the pitiable heap of soil that covers all that remains of their son, and their tears well up afresh. There comes flooding back crystal clear through the years the shock of that fateful day when they found Abel murdered, lying in his own blood, and with awful force the stark reality of the curse came home to them both. So this was Death—no more to hear that kindly voice, never again to watch the strong, patient figure of their son leading his sheep home to the fold at dusk. Only the memories of a little boy at play, and this sad grave.

Did it Really Happen?

The account of the world’s first murder is in Genesis chapter 4. Some are disposed to mock when they hear there are people who really believe in these opening chapters of the Bible. There is a perception that they are shadowy myths, tales with a moral by which early men explained to themselves how the world came to be. It may surprise you to learn that Jesus quotes in a very matter-of-fact way from Genesis chapter 2, to prove to his adversaries that marriage was ordained by God. It may also surprise you to find that in Genesis 5 there is a long list of Adam’s sons and grandsons and their descendants, with the precise ages when their children were born and how old they were when they died—hard to explain unless Adam was real. And when people say “who could Cain have married, because there were no women for him to choose from?”, they have not read their Bible carefully, for Genesis 5:4 records that Adam had ‘sons and daughters’,  through whom we read in Genesis 1:28 he was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’.

But I am not out to prove that Genesis really happened. That is something that grows on you as you get to know the Bible for yourself. What I do want to show in this new series is that it is not just by chance that the Old Testament has survived along with the New. It still has a message for today. It contains principles and prophecies upon which the teaching of Jesus and his apostles was based, so that to be without it would be like buying a roof without a house, or ordering lunch at a restaurant and only eating the dessert.

To give an illustration of how important it is, suppose you were an investor and you heard that a certain company was offering shares for sale to the public. You wanted to find out whether they were a good investment. You would apply for the prospectus, a statement of the company’s objects and resources. The law insists that the prospectus must include as one of its principal parts the company history, as record of its achievements over the years. Before parting with your savings, you could then see how the company has grown, checking on its performance in the past, to weigh up the prospects of future dividends.


Now, compared with the return from stocks and shares, salvation is priceless, and God is pleased to offer it to us free of charge. But He does require from us our very lives in exchange. It is a lot to hand over, as the rich young man found when Jesus bade him ‘follow me’ (Matthew 19:21).

We need assurance that God means what He says. That assurance can be had from a study of the Old Testament, because it is the logbook of God’s work. We see His justice and compassion in action with real people who suffered and loved and died. We follow through a purpose which began in Eden at the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), and stretches irresistibly on into our future when suffering and death will be banished from the earth. Having learnt of the first Adam, father of mankind, who brought sin into the world, we can appreciate why the New Testament calls Jesus the ‘last Adam’, head of the family of the redeemed. After marvelling at the steadfast faith of Abraham in his God, in spite of setbacks that would have daunted a lesser man, we can understand the apostles in the New Testament urging us to imitate such holy men.

But we must begin at the beginning, as God intended. As Paul writes when contemplating the Old Testament account of the Exodus, ‘these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come’ (1 Corinthians 10:11). Or again, referring to one of the Psalms: ‘For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope’ (Romans 15:4).

This is the introduction to a series of studies in the Bible’s first book, Genesis. Our objective is to pick out from the Hebrew scriptures a chain of gems of truth, divine diamonds that will last for ever, a golden thread of help and guidance that is able to lead us to the Kingdom of God.

David Pearce

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