This book, in the Hebrew copies of the Bible, and by the Jewish writers, is generally called Bereshith, which signifies "in the beginning", being the first word of it; as the other four books of Moses are also called from their initial words. In the Syriac and Arabic versions, the title of this book is "The Book of the Creation", because it begins with an account of the creation of all things; and is such an account, and so good an one, as is not to be met with anywhere else.

The Greek version calls it Genesis, and so we and other versions from thence; and that because it treats of the generation of all things, of the heavens, and the earth, and all that are in them, and of the genealogy of men: it treats of the first men, of the patriarchs before the flood, and after it to the times of Joseph. It is called the "first" book of Moses, because there are four more that follow; the name the Jewish Rabbins give to the whole is "the five fifths of the law", to which the Greek word "pentateuch" answers; by which we commonly call these books, they being but one volume, consisting of five parts, of which this is the first.


The design of which is to lead men into the knowledge and worship of the one true God, the Creator of all things, and of the origin of mankind, the fall of our first parents, and their posterity in them; and to point at the means and method of the recovery of man by the Messiah, the promised seed; and to give an account of the state and case of the church of God, in the times of the patriarchs, both before and after the flood, from Adam, in the line of Seth, to Noah; and from Noah to the times of Joseph, in whose death it ends.

Days of Creation

In the Hebrew Bible, "yôm" usually signifies a 24-hour day, though it can also mean an undefined time span or era. Exodus 20:11 reiterates the Genesis account using its same language, but Scripture does not give the length of time of the creation week anywhere. There are three primary views about the days of Genesis 1 that accept Genesis as history, describing events that happened:

1. The strictly literal interpretation is that of a creation period of six 24-hour days. A strictly literal interpretation of "day" is not inherently more spiritual or biblical, was not held by many different pre-scientific interpreters (e.g. Augustine), and has even been used to claim that Genesis is myth (e.g. James Barr). Features in the text of Genesis 1 like exalted prose, programmatic statements, dischronologization from Genesis 2:5, light before the luminaries, days before the sun, and a topically ordered week may point to the fact that a strickly literal account is not what the author intended to give.

2. The Day-Age view interprets "day" as symbolic language of an arbitrary long period of time. This view may risk prioritizing scientific concordance over contextual language understanding (e.g. the phrase at the end of each day, "there was evening, and there was morning"). Moreover, even though the age of the earth on this view corresponds to current scientific theories, the description of creation during each age does not. For example, there would have to be a whole age in which vegetation was brought about before the sun, moon, and stars were even created.

3. The Framework or Literary view of "day" focuses on the worldview that the Genesis creation week presents. A literary reading views the seven 24-hour days of creation as an analogy for God's historical act of creating rather than a strickly literal historical, chronological, or scientific account. Creation is portrayed in three parts, preparation days (1-3), population days (4-6), and God's day of rest (7). The narrative identifies God as the all-powerful Creator and Judge of everything who is actively involved in creation and established the work-rest pattern for the human workweek.

Age of the Universe

Scripture nowhere attemps to give an age of the universe or the earth. There are three primary views about the age of the earth:

1. Young Earth Creationism depends on adding up genealogical records given in Genesis to arrive at a relatievly recent date of creation. However, the biblical authors freely skip links in genealogies: Jesus is said to be the son of David and Abraham, Matthew in his genealogy skips Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah and says that Joram begot his great-great-grandson Uzziah to reach three tables of fourteen generations, so estimating a duration of time during the two tables of ten generations in Genesis 5 and 11 appears unjustified. Moreover, the fact that there is strong scientific evidence against this view from the dating of meteorites based on radioactive decay, the rate of the expansion of the universe traced backwards, massive numbers of craters on various moons, estimates based on the speed of light from the furthest stars, many layered rock sedimentation, and more should caution anyone against forcing this interpretation into the Bible.

2. The Gap Theory suggests a temporal gap between the first two verses of Genesis. It proposes an initial perfect creation by God (1:1), followed by a catastrophic event leading to a formless and void Earth (1:2)—attributed to Satan's fall or a cosmic battle—resulting in a gap of undefined duration where geological and fossil records were formed. The subsequent verses are seen as God's re-creation or restoration of the Earth. However, the Hebrew waw-consecutive construction used here does not support a gap as it typically indicates a narrative sequence rather than a disjunctive or parenthetical statement. Instead of describing restoration, Genesis 1:3 and on appears to be describing creation which is good, not fallen. While the precense of Satan in Eden is not explained, reading a cosmic battle or Satan's fall into that gap seems unwarranted. The phrase "formless and void" (tohu wa-bohu), which some gap theorists use to suggest a post-catastrophe scenario (e.g. The Scofield Reference Bible), is instead likely describing an unfinished, uninhabited Earth in its primordial state.

3. Old Earth Creationism adherents generally follow the Gap Theory, the Day-Age view, or the Framework view. They do not hold that the biblical account provides any basis for determining that age, so the age of the universe in this view is based purely on a range of scientific evidence, including geological data, radiometric dating, and astronomical observations. This position does not demand adherence to a certain view of evolution, the non-historicity of Adam, or a mythic view of Genesis. Many faithful interpreters have held this view (e.g. Spurgeon, Bavinck, Warfield).


I. Primeval History (1:1-11:26)
II. Patriarchal History (11:27-37:1)

I. Primeval History (1:1-11:26)
A. Creation (1:1-2:3)
B. Generations of the Heavens and the Earth (2:4-4:26)
C. Generations of Adam (5:1-6:8)
D. Generations of Noah (6:9-9:29)
E. Generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (10:1-11:9)
F. Generations of Shem (11:10-26)
II. The Patriarchal Narratives (11:27-37:1)
A. Generations of Terah (11:27-25:11)
B. Generations of Ishmael (25:12-18)
C. Generations of Isaac (25:19-35:29)
D. Generations of Esau (36:1-37:1)
E. Generations of Jacob (37:2-50:26)



Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Ch. 1–17 and 18-50, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990).


Ronald E. Manahan, A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An Analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials, (Th.D. Dissertation Grace Theological Seminary, May 1982).

William Henry Green, The Unity of the Book of Genesis, (New York: Charles Scribners, 1895).


B. B. Warfield, On the Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race, Princeton Theological Review 9.1 (Jan 1911), 1-25.

Debating Adam, SBJT 15.1 (Spring 2011).

Gavin Ortlund, On the Fall of Angles and the Fallenness of Nature: An Evangelical Hypothesis Regarding Natural Evil, EQ 87.2 (2015), 114-36.

Why the Framework View of Genesis 1?, 2010.

Image of Adam, Son of God: Genesis 5:3 and Luke 3:38 in Intercanonical Dialogue, JETS 57/4 (2014), 673-88.

Genesis, SBJT 5.3 (Fall 2001).

G. K. Beale, Adam as the First Priest in Eden as the Garden Temple, SBJT 22.2 (2018), 9-24.

James R. Battenfield, A Consideration of the Identity of the Pharaoh of Genesis 47, JETS 15/2 (June 1972), 77-85.

Jeffrey J. Niehaus, God's Covenant with Abraham, JETS 56/2 (2013), 249-71.

Joshua M. Philpot, Was Joseph a Type of Daniel? Typological Correspondence in Genesis 37-50 and Daniel 1-6, JETS 61.4 (2018), 681-96.

Nicholas John Ansell, The Call of Wisdom/The Voice of the Serpent: A Canonical Approach to the Tree of Knowledge, Christian Scholars Review 31.1 (2001) 31-57.

Nicholas P. Lunn, "Raised on the Third Day According to the Scriptures": Resurrection Typology in the Genesis Creation Narrative, JETS 57/3 (2014), 523-35.

Paul T. Penley, A Historical Reading of Genesis 11:1-9: The Sumerian Demise and Dispersion Under the Ur III Dynasty, JETS 50/4 (Dec. 2007), 693-714.

T. Desmond Alexander, Further Observations on the Term ‘Seed’ in Genesis, Tyndale Bulletin 48.2 (Nov. 1997)

Genealogies, Seed and the Compositional Unity of Genesis, Tyndale Bulletin 44.2 (1993), 255-70.

Vern Sheridan Poythress, The Presence of God Qualifying our notions of Grammatical-Historical Interpretation: Genesis 3:15 as a Test Case, JETS 50/1 (Mar. 2007), 87-103.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Is it the Case that Christ is the Same Object of Faith in the Old Testament? (Genesis 15:1-6), JETS 55/2 (2012), 291-98.


Gavin Ortlund, Creation Playlist.

Robert Vannoy, Dr. Robert Vanoy, Genesis.

Steven Lawson, Steven Lawson Genesis.

Voddie Baucham, Genesis.