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Spencer Graf

OT Literature and Interpretation
Dr. Walton
Purpose Paper Outline

Purpose: The purpose of Genesis is to show and explain God’s
redeeming qualities. Whether it is something that God Himself asks
someone to do or the way events fall into place, God always crafts a
final result that points towards His divine planning and redemptive
characteristics. However Moses’ end design is to provide an
overarching theme of man’s continual depravity, even in the face of
God trying to establish His covenant with His people.

Moses writes events in a particular order: A. Everything is good and
well. B. Conflict arises that troubles God or mankind. C. Mankind falls
short and is punished or given a consequence. D. God brings it all back
to good for His purpose. He also always emphasizes the qualities that
are harmful in mankind.

1. The Fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-4)
A. Good: God creates all of creation
B. Conflict: The serpent deceives Eve and Adam, making them
sin.
C. Punishment: God kicks them both out of the Garden of Eden.
D. Good Purpose: God saves them from a life of eternal sin, if
they had eaten from the Tree of Life.
2. Noah and the Flood (Genesis 6:9-10)
A. Good: Man is flourishing, building bigger families and
spreading.
B. Conflict: The corruption and sin of man is growing more.
C. Punishment: God decides to flood the entire earth, wiping out
all the men that he created, save Noah and his family.
D. Good Purpose: He continues a more holy line of descendants
from Noah that know and worship him as Yahweh.

3. The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-2)
A. Good: Lot is living in Sodom, after being saved by Abraham.
B. Conflict: Sodom has become a place of heavy sexual sin.
C. Punishment: God decides to destroy the city and all of its
inhabitants.
D. Good Purpose: He saves Lot and his family, however Lot’s
family looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt.

4. The sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19)
A. Good: God finally comes through on His promise to give a son
to Abraham even in his old age.
B. Conflict: While this isn’t man letting God down, the conflict is
a conflict of interests. God calls Abraham to sacrifice his one
and only son.
C. Punishment: It can be taken two ways, either Abraham
disobeys God and is punished in some way or he actually
follows through and loses his only son.
D. Good Purpose: Abraham finds a ram when he is about to kill
his son. God blesses Abraham for his obedience to Him. (This
has been paralleled to God sacrificing Jesus as His one and
only Son.)

5. Joseph Sold into Slavery (Genesis 37-46)
A. Good: Israel (Jacob) settled in the land of Canaan, where Isaac
had lived, with all of his family.
B. Conflict: Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers for being
too cool for school.
C. Punishment: Israel is pretty much depressed, the brothers feel
bad afterwards later, and then a famine happens.
D. Good Purpose: God elevated Joseph during his time in Egypt
so that he becomes extremely powerful and can help his
family when they come seeking aid.

Problematic Scenarios:

1. Cain and Abel (Genesis 4)
A. Good: Adam and Eve are creating a family, doing the Creation
Mandate that God gave them.
B. Conflict: Cain kills Abel.
C. Punishment: Cain is marked as a murderer and sent off as a
wanderer.
D. Good Purpose: I can’t really find a good purpose immediately,
but in the future his descendants are many. But they also
contribute to the increasing corruption of the earth so it’s a
win-lose situation.

2. The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)
A. Good: Men wish to honor God and pay homage to Him.
B. Conflict: They wish to interact with God on their terms and not
His.
C. Punishment: God separates all of them and mixes up their
languages so they can’t understand any of each other.
D. Good Purpose: God pretty much just does what he wants in
this one… He knows that men are working hard to do what
they want and it won’t be good. But we all know that God
loves some diversity so that was good He mixed them all up.
Overall, Moses does a good job of sticking to his literary structure of
doing good first, bad next, then the ugly, and finally how God makes it
work for everyone. And while I do agree with what OTT says, that
Genesis is about God establishing His covenant with His people, Moses
paints a picture going into Exodus that has us waiting for the next bad
situation to arise; they have just gotten to the sweet spot of Egypt. He
continues his cycle in the first chapter of Exodus, saying that pharaoh
deals harshly with the new Israelites in his kingdom.