How Did Moses Write Genesis?
John 5: 46-47
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words? “
Numerous passages in the New Testament state that Genesis was written by Moses. But how could Moses have written Genesis? James Ussher, the famous chronologist and historian, dated the book of Exodus to 1491 B.C. Since Moses was around 80 years old at that time, it is likely that he was born around 1571 B.C., which is equivalent to 2433 AM (Anno Mundi, years elapsed since the creation of the world). However, Genesis closes with the death of Joseph, around 1635 BC, or 2369 AM. So the last event in Genesis ended 64 years before Moses was born, with more than 2,000 years of history to record. Modern historians would turn to earlier writers, but we believe that Moses was inspired by God.
In posing this problem, we must begin our response by acknowledging that we believe what the inspired New Testament writers wrote about the authorship of Genesis. Whatever answer we give it must be consistent with that starting point. Scholars err when they allow such questions to cause them to doubt the truthfulness of Scripture.
Of course, it is possible that Moses received direct revelation from God on what to write about. Another theory, however, with which I agree, is that God inspired a series of writers over time to write the various “generations” of Genesis, which Moses later edited under divine inspiration. For example, Genesis 5: 1 suggests that the next section was compiled by Adam, while Noah wrote the section beginning in Genesis 6: 9.
Regardless of what we believe about how Moses wrote Genesis, we accept what he did and that God inspired him to do it.
Prayer: We love Your word, Lord, and we love to study it more deeply, convinced that every word has been inspired by You. Amen.
Ref: What is a toledot ? <https://www.gotquestions.org/toledot.html>, accessed 4/24/2018.
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