Genesis 1-3 and the Pentateuch


The first three chapters in Genesis lay the foundation for the rest of the Pentateuch. The rule of God is essential for the establishment of his character, authority and actions that are on display throughout the five books of Moses. There appears to be a pre-fall covenant with Adam that God enters into and this is a key factor in how it affects the life and hopes of humanity that follow. God then makes a significant statement in Genesis chapter three verse fifteen known as the covenant of grace which sets up the rest of his covenanting purpose found in the history to come. Finally, the presence of God is a crucial aspect that provides desire and hope for God’s people. Each of these themes demonstrates how these three key chapters contain the concept in essence and how it is expounded in the rest of the Pentateuch. They are also applicatory to wider issues of Christian life and thought.

Scroll down to the end for a link to the rest of the essay on the topic

The full question:

What is the relationship of Genesis 1-3 to the whole Pentateuch? Give special attention to whether there is a ‘covenant of works’ and a ‘covenant of grace’ in Genesis 2-3 that form a foundation for the rest of the Pentateuch.


These books are ordered from the most useful to the least used resource in my research. There are a few journal articles and websites at times as well.

God & Adam: Reformed Theology and the Creation Covenant – Ward, R.

Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments – Vos, Geerhardus

Raiding the Lost Ark: Recovering the Gospel of the Covenant King – Rhodes, Jonty

Toward an Old Testament Theology – Kaiser, Walter C.

God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology – Horton, Michael

The Faith of Israel: A Theological Survey of the Old Testament – Dumbrell, William J.

‘Current Reformed Thinking on the Nature of the Divine Covenants’, The Westminster Theological Journal 40/1 – Robertson, O Palmer

God’s Design: A Focus on Old Testament Theology – Martens, Almer A.

God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth – Beale, G. K. & Kim, Mitchell

A Study Commentary on Genesis – Currid, John D.

Genesis – Calvin, John

The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 – Hamilton, Victor P.

Covenant and Creation: An Old Testament Covenant Theology – Dumbrell, William J.

God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible – Roberts, Vaughan

The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament – Merrill, Eugene H.

An Introduction to the Old Testament – Longman, Tremper & Dillard, Raymond B.

Through the Pentateuch Chapter by Chapter – Thomas, W. H. Griffith

Biblical Theology: The History of Theology from Adam to Christ – Owen, John

The Unity of the Book of Genesis – Green, William Henry

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