Genesis for Ordinary People

Paul Poulton

The Book of Genesis Stands Strong

About


Genesis for Ordinary People a book by Paul Poulton

The book of Genesis continues to stand strong.

"Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them" (Isaiah 41:22).

The intriguing book of Genesis is examined: Details of the gripping narrative are uncovered.

Travel with the author, considering the lives of those in and around the garden that God planted. The book of Genesis holds many insights into the early days of human civilisation.

Watch the story progress as the focus of Genesis moves away from Mesopotamia, across the river Euphrates and into Canaan.

As the adventures in Genesis unfold we begin to see a plan clearly developing throughout the generations.

On this site we'll have a look at some questions raised by
the book "Genesis for Ordinary People" and by the book of Genesis.

There are two other books that Paul Poulton has written in this series: Exodus for Ordinary People and God and Primordial People 

About About About

FAQ 1


David pointed out that, "Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden are probably a parable. There are lots of parables in the Bible, they are stories from which we learn something but parables didn’t actually happen, did they?"

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Question: Christian people may be convinced by saying that the storyline of Genesis chapter 2 follows chapter 1 chronologically, but what about Religious Study Courses at universities? I thought creationists used to try to say that Genesis chapter 2 was a rehash of chapter 1, the book didn’t say that but the modern point of view is that Gen 1 was written by “P” and Gen 2 by “J”, both of whom had different ideas of how God created life.

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There are over 6,000 languages in the world, Why does Genesis say, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” (Gen 11:1)? And isn't that a good thing? Why did God confuse the languages?

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Lucia was asking about sin and death only being around since Adam. Genesis for Ordinary People highlights Romans 5 and talks about sin being in the world before the law that Adam was given, but what about I Corinthians 15: 21-22 which says, 'For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.'?

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Does Genesis state that the sky, or firmament, was made of metal? The question has had people talking for years. If we think of the firmament as something strong and solid, we can see it that way by understanding...

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Paul H and a few other people have asked what made Paul want to write about Genesis?

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Is there any more light to throw on the "days" in Genesis chapter one?

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So if Adam wasn’t the first person to live and die, did God create men sinful because men only die because they sin? And if there were men before Adam they must have been sinful because they died.

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So Genesis chapter 1 actually supports what science has been telling us for a long time - Humans came at the end of a long line of living creatures! If that is so why do some people still say that science is wrong and that God made man instantly?

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Isn’t there a problem with Eve being taken from Adam’s rib because of the Y chromosomes? Also why do men have nipples?

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If Adam wasn’t the first man why does Luke’s genealogy trace Christ’s line all the way back to Adam?

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John said, "What about the missing link?"

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FAQ 2


We had an inquiry from someone who is reading Genesis for Ordinary People who said, they’d been told that God would not use evolution to create life because it involved mistakes and God doesn’t make any mistakes. There’s no law to evolution, it’s a random chance thing and God doesn’t use random chance. God, they were told, can make things in a flash. Ping, and there’s a pig etc."

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The Sumerian King List has longer lives for the kings before the deluge than the kings who lived after the Flood, which certainly ties in with Genesis. However, when I took a look at the Sumerian King List the kings before the Flood lived to be something like 28,000 years or 8 Sars as the Sumerians used to measure their time. Adam and his children lived long lives, 900 years or so, but none of his family made it to 1,000 years old, let alone 28,000 years. Do you know why the Sumerians had such long time spans for their early kings?

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Do people who believe in Genesis really believe in a fairy story?

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Does the New Testament have anything to say about prehistoric humans?

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Did Eridu have its beginnings when Adam and Eve went to live there or was it already up and running?

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Jonathan asked "Wasn't the ground over the whole earth cursed when Adam sinned so that thistles and thorns would grow, as there weren't any weeds before Adam fell?

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What about the doctrine of the fall? When Adam sinned the universe changed and bad things started to happen, like disease and disasters, earthquakes and famine. God didn’t originally make the world like that.

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A gentleman wrote to me about Genesis saying the sun and moon were created after the earth. He finished by saying that Genesis can't be the word of God with such glaring mistakes.

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The alphabet originated with proto-siniatic script found etched into rocks in the Sinai Peninsula and dated 1800 BC to 1400 BC. The script is considered the earliest trace of alphabetic writing. Moses was there during that time period.

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Where is Lilith mentioned in the Bible?

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Don't the ‘young earth’ theorists say there is time for all the different races of people – Asian, African, Oriental, Aboriginal and European etc. - to get their specific racial features from the time of the Flood, when Noah’s three children started to repopulate the globe?

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Les said, "Couldn’t the speed of light have been different in the past?"

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FAQ 3


Could the tree of life, in the Garden of Eden, actually give a human being eternal life? How can a piece of fruit do that?

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With such an explosion of verifiable modern discoveries about the past how can Genesis keep up, surely it will be left behind?

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"If the atoms that make up each human being came from the stars, why does Genesis say we came from the dust of the earth?"

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I’d like to go back to the subject of how death entered the world please. Did God make creatures that would eventually die or did the creatures themselves do something to merit their own death? And why did men start killing animals to eat?

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Going back to the subject of men not eating meat before the Flood: When God spoke to Noah after the Flood, in Genesis 9:3, he said, "Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." Wasn’t God referring to Genesis 1:29 which says, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food"? So men didn’t eat meat until after the Flood when God gave them permission to eat meat.

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1 Corinthians 11:7-9 says, ‘A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.' That’s pretty conclusive isn’t it? Women came from a man, so evolution has no place in the Word of God!

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Michael asked about the Flood: if it was confined to the Mesopotamian area why are fish fossils found on mountains?

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Homo sapiens have been on the planet for maybe as long as 200,000 years. Is Genesis able to explain that?

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We hear such a lot about prehistoric humans but how does prehistoric man fit into Genesis?

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Jesus clearly stated that angels do not marry, (Matt 22:30). So the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 who married the daughters of men were likely from the godly line of Seth. Is that not correct?

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How can snakes talk?

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Christine asked about the people who lived before Adam. Romans 5:14 says that “death reigned from Adam to Moses.” So who were the people before Adam and did they die? Also 1 Cor 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” So if all die in Adam who were the people before Adam and did they die?

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FAQ 4


I’ve heard a few people say that the Book of Genesis has two contradictory creation accounts: the first in chapter 1 when God created the animals and then man. The other is in chapter 2 when he created Adam and then the animals. Which one is correct?

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The theory that Moses couldn’t have written Genesis because writing didn’t exist at that time has been discarded. But is there any more light to throw on the subject of who wrote Genesis?

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If Moses Wrote Genesis What Writing Materials Did He Use? There couldn’t have been a vast supply of writing materials in the Sinai Peninsula, so what did Moses write with?

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Terah, Abraham's father, was grieving for his son Haran. Terah, it seems, decided to stay in the northern Mesopotamian "city of Haran," (no connection with his son Haran) rather than carry on the journey to Canaan. The family were in the city of Haran for five years. The people of Haran served the same moon god as the people in Terah's former location, the southern

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I heard that King Amraphel, king of Shinar was probably identified as Hammurabi the Babylonian ruler. if they are the same person your chronology of Abraham's timeline doesn't agree. For instance, Abraham was born in 1906 BC. He was 86 years old when Ishmael was born, making the year 1820 BC but Hammurabi's reign started in 1792 BC? A good 32 years out. Any thoughts?

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Are there any corroborating writings that the garden of Eden ever existed? Sumerian literature and Genesis speak of the same location for the garden of Eden. We know roughly where the garden of Eden was because the Mesopotamians were prolific writers

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“Couldn’t God have caused all the trees in the garden of Eden to grow supernaturally fast, like he did with Jonah’s gourd.” Genesis gives us three pieces of information that will help us answer your question.

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When God said he was sorry that he'd made mankind because their thoughts were continually wicked (Gen 6) was he talking about the whole of the human race?

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Ann said “People used to live for a long time all those years ago didn’t they?”

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If Genesis chapter 1 speaks of Adam in a plural sense i.e. the bulk of humanity, and Genesis chapter 2 speaks of Adam (singular) in the garden why is Adam the individual relegated to chapter 2 seeing it is from him that Christ descended?

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Brian asked about Jesus believing that Adam and Eve were the first people because Jesus said in Mark 10:6-7 “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.” Jesus also said in Matt 19:4-5 “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”

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Brian pointed out that Jesus believed that the world was only 4000 years old because Jesus said “Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” (Luke 11:50-51). Jesus linked Abel’s death with the beginning of the world and Abel lived approximately 4000 years before Jesus was born.

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Discussions


Pete said: "I am curious as to how you predict a flood date of 2900 BC."

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Nic: "I do struggle with the fact that we seem to have to accommodate the popular scientific viewpoint when interpreting the creation story. Simply because, in my view, it’s entirely possible that God was completely able to create the whole thing in seven literal days. And I wonder if we simply want to save face within the intelligentsia so they don't think we are nutters, maybe?”

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The seven day week had been lost to the young nation of Israel while they were in Egypt. The Mesopotamians still had the seven day week but most of the world did not. The Egyptians had a 10 day week. Originally, God had led by example, i.e. if God has a seven day week with one day off then perhaps we ought to too. There is no command to have a Sabbath day prior to book of Exodus's description of the manna falling.

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Leslie and Paul had some dialogue about soft tissue in dinosaurs, the proposition made by Leslie was, "Original tissues and carbon-14 can’t last millions of years, yet they are found in dinosaur fossils."

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Les and Paul had some interesting dialogue on living creatures coming from the ground

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Jim: "If the whole universe is here for the sake of planet Earth it must be here for all of the planets in the universe whether inhabited or not."

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Reviews


Genesis for Ordinary People - Never for Nothing

"This is a book that acknowledges that there has been a serious lack of understanding regarding the book of Genesis from both sides of the debate. Scientists and atheists have been quick to dismiss it as unscientific... whereas Christians have failed to understand its main truths."

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Genesis for Ordinary People - Phantom Tollbooth

Poulton’s unique approach is harder to place on the literal-mythical spectrum. Generally, he takes the text very seriously as it stands (including people’s long ages and Eve’s supernatural creation).

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Genesis for Ordianry People - Robin Thompson

Tackling Genesis is a good yet bold choice. It has come under fire in recent years from non-believers who have used it to undermine Christianity and even the existence of God. Paul however, using a mix of apologetics, hermeneutics and a knack for communicating complex ideas in an accessible way, manages to cut through some of the misinformation and, dare I say, misinterpretation, the latter of which has not been confined to secular circles.

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Genesis for Ordinary People - Ordinary People Reviews

"So far Genesis for Ordinary People has opened my mind up to a different look to the book of Genesis. I love how Paul speaks on your level making it so easy to follow along. If you want to learn more about Genesis then I would recommend to give this book a try."

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Exodus for Ordinary People - Never for Nothing

In this follow up work, Paul continues to challenge and excite us, with a scholarly yet accessible work designed to restore the historical credibility of the book of Exodus. From his detailed analysis of the relevant dates of key events to comparisons with other historical sources, particularly in respect of Egypt, Paul builds up a picture of the book of Exodus as a reliable historical account and not, as some people would have us believe, a fantastic work of fiction.

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Exodus for Ordinary People - Ordinary People Reviews

"I want to say an especial thanks for the Exodus book and say just how much I am enjoying reading it (nearly finished!). It has made me re-read the Scriptures with fresh eyes and see how God works through His Creation and I found your comments about the providential and miraculous most helpful."

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Exodus


Exodus
The book of Exodus is sometimes viewed with scepticism—but need not be.

Exodus for Ordinary People by Paul Poulton

The stories it contains record a turning point in history where God begins to relate to human beings in a new way, and a nation takes its first faltering steps. A reluctant hero is chosen to lead a group of people who are not sure they want to be led at all. We can see ourselves reflected in the strains of the people in conflict with a major power of their day, and sometimes with each other.

This second book of the Bible yields much that may go unnoticed by a cursory reading. There are lessons to learn, and an absorbing scene to watch—the gritty life of Jacob's descendants played out in the arena of ancient Lower Egypt. On close inspection we are able to figure out which pharaoh is in power, why Moses is sent to tend sheep in the wilderness, how Aaron acquired his metallurgy skills—and why he used them to cast a golden calf.

Exodus for Ordinary People highlights many events that may have puzzled us when we've read the book of Exodus before, but the answers are there if we look.

God and Primordial People


God and Primordial People

God and Primordial People
Reviews & Comments


This is Paul’s fourth published book, and it explores further some of the themes discussed in his earlier work “Genesis for Ordinary People” (and to a lesser extent its sequel “Exodus for Ordinary People”). Here Paul explores the origins of man by looking at evidence from primarily the Bible but also from other reliable historical and archaeological stories. It is important to note that Paul is keen to consider what the Bible actually says, not what we think it says, removing the layers of dogma and preconception that may have accumulated over many years of belief, or even unbelief. As the author himself points out in Chapter 24, Bone and Flesh, “We have to take care that current popular doctrines don’t infiltrate the truth of the Bible and ‘death entering the world after the disobedience of Adam in the garden’ is dogma that has entered some quarters of the church. Even Bible translators can be pulled into interpreting, and consequently translating, the Bible in the light of their church’s doctrine rather than what is actually written”. To that end this is not a book to read if you want confirmation of your own preconceptions; Instead, prepare to be challenged and unravelled by this thoughtful, insightful and erudite piece of work.

Once again Paul explores our pre-held notions of who Adam and Eve were, the nature of sin and death, and the very origins of the fall of mankind. Were Adam and Eve the first humans? Paul’s answer is an emphatic no and as you follow the logic of the argument and the evidence presented you are able to arrive at that conclusion for yourself, to see that the Bible never makes that claim and that the original readers of the Biblical texts would never have drawn that conclusion either!

It’s not just about Adam and Eve though. We are shown how the Bible cleverly uses the word Adam to mean both a man and all mankind and in doing so it is revealing a picture of who we are – spotting the correct usage when reading the Bible makes all the difference to your understanding of it. And beyond this, as readers we are taken on a journey through Sumerian culture, the possible relationships between homo sapiens and other homo species (such as Neanderthals) and how God has been with us from the beginning, providing and caring for us and how we turned our back on that to go our own way and how we sought to become self-sufficient in more ways than one. This is another excellent book from Paul and is highly recommended if you want to be able to find answers to some core questions about our origins and the Biblical accounts of them. 10/10. Robin Thompson. Published in Never For Nothing

“In this thought provoking, informative, and well-researched book, Paul suggests ways the biblical record can be interpreted to harmonize with modern scientific thought. I found the ideas presented challenging and left me wanting to study the subject more deeply.”

—John Tyrell, Pastor, Senior Leader of Community Life Church

“A well-researched, thought provoking, and to some, controversial fresh look at the origins of mankind, its rise and fall, culminating in the birth of Christ, the hope for the world and mankind in particular. It is an interpretation of Scripture, science, and archaeology. It will prove a stimulating read regardless of your views. I am finding it both fascinating and challenging to my own personal thinking, and it is causing me to think again my simple views on the matter.”

—Paul Edwards, Reverend, Sheffield, England


"The modern world is in a position to view the divine sculptor’s work as no other generation has. Throughout previous generations many people believed that God created life, but preceding generations were not privy to the method and manner in which he worked—his modus operandi. We are now in that position, thanks to the fine work of archaeologists, geologists, paleontologists, and scientists, some of whom have faith in God: the Big Bang Theory itself was first proposed by a Christian priest, who was also a scientist.

This explosion of verifiable information affects the way we view the Bible. God and Primordial People investigates and provides a cohesive picture of the Christian doctrine of the rise and fall of man and our salvation through Christ.

The book moves through each relevant step in the chain from the first primordial human beings to the world we live in today."

Published by Wipf and Stock

Exodus FAQ


Exodus 12:22 instructs the Israelites to stay in their homes “until morning” of the 14th Abib. “But Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel”. The people of Egypt also “urged the Israelites to leave the land in haste” (Exodus 12:33). So did they leave at night or in the morning?

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Do you think there is anything biblically significant in the Sinai's weird phenomena “The Forest of Pillars”?

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What difference is there between the first and second commandments because there doesn't seem to be a difference.

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Contact


  • West Midlands, England, United Kingdom