Generations in Genesis

Generations in Genesis

Genesis 5: 1a
“This is the book of the generations of Adam.”

One of the problems some people have with the book of Genesis is about its authorship. The fact that Genesis is attributed to Moses is well known. Nor is it mere tradition. Jesus himself referred to the first five books of the Bible as written by Moses. However, all the events contained in Genesis predate Moses, in some cases by more than a thousand years.

Many explanations have been given to reconcile this problem. Some have suggested that the entire book could have been given to Moses by direct revelation from God. Now God is sovereign and certainly could have given Genesis by this method. However, most scholars prefer the idea that Genesis is structured in units, called toledots, and that Moses was able to edit them into the final inspired document.

The Hebrew word toledot is found in phrases like Genesis 5: 1. “This is the book of the generations of Adam”, where the word “generations” is used to translate the Hebrew toledot . This phrase is used to separate what are likely to be the original family documents. The sentence is likely to feature the section compiled by the named person, although I should mention that some think that the sentence actually concludes or closes the section compiled by the person named. Personally, I think the idea of ​​the toledot as a presentation is more likely, especially when one looks at the toledot of Ishmael in Genesis 25. Either way, toledot’s model perfectly explains how Genesis can be both inspired, contemporary, and part of the books of Moses.

Prayer: We declare and acknowledge that your word, in the Bible, is true, from beginning to end. Thank you for the way you have preserved and given us your word today. Amen.

Ref: Sarfati, J. (2015), The Genesis story , (Powder Springs, GA: CMI), pp17-19.

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