I passed a bookshop yesterday that has a 'new release' book called "CHRIST IN GENESIS". I haven't bought it yet, and don't want to until I put down my own thoughts first - just in case I get accused of copying!
Some folk will think this idea is out of sequence: surely Jesus wasn't born until the beginning of the New Testament? But most Christians will think straight away of the beginning of John's Gospel:
"In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ...The idea that Christ was one with the Father before creation, and was the agent of creation itself, is certainly a part of orthodox Christian theology. But I was thinking of something else - the idea that Christ's purpose in coming into the world was prophesied in the Old Testament, and 'fore-shadowed' by the events described.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."
The story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4) always puzzled me. Yes, of course Cain's jealousy and murder of his brother was wrong, but it all came about because God rejected Cain's sacrifice of his 'fruits of the soil' in favour of Abel's 'firstborn of his stock'. After all, Cain worked the soil and Abel tended flocks. Only with the benefit of hindsight (i.e. the New Testament) do we understand the symbolic significance of blood sacrifice.
But the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22) to God's inexplicable request is even more striking. When the 'angel of the Lord' called out to Abraham at the last minute to revoke the request, the Lord provided a male sheep caught by its horns in a nearby thorn bush as a substitute.
The significance of this event as a fore-shadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the Cross really hit me the last time I read this familiar story. Not the climax - but just before, when Abraham had taken the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on the back of his son Isaac for him to carry. I had not made any connection before with Jesus carrying the wood of his own cross to the hill at Calvary.
When they arrived, Isaac said to his father,
The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."
We used to have an embroidered text on the wall at home when I was a small boy. It said "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found". It is certainly true when you read Genesis.