Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?

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This is really a fascinating question. Many scholars believe that there are four different authors to the book of Genesis. J, E, P, D for Yawest, Eloist, Priestly, and Deuterist. They say that there are different styles of writing in Genesis and therefore, there are these four different authors. They are actually, partially correct. There are different styles of writing in Genesis. If you look at Genesis chapter one it states that “God created,” “God said,” “God saw,” “God divided,” “God called,” and so on. 31 times the word ‘God’ is used in Genesis chapter one. When you go to chapter two of Genesis starting with verse 4 there is a change. The wording used is now “LORD God” all throughout chapter two. It is using a different name and a totally different style of writing than that of chapter one of Genesis. It is obvious that a different person is writing chapter two.

So who wrote the Book of Genesis? Mark 12:26 says, “…have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” The book of Moses here is obviously referring to the book of Exodus. So, the New Testament tells us that Moses wrote the book of Exodus.

In Deuteronomy 25:5 it says, “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.” Furthermore, in Luke 20:28 it says, “Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.” Therefore, the New Testament also tells us that Moses wrote Deuteronomy.

With a little searching through the scriptures you can prove conclusively that Moses wrote Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Bible never mentions that Moses was the author of Genesis. So who wrote Genesis? Actually Moses was the editor of Genesis. There are 10 different eyewitness accounts in Genesis. Adam actually wrote part of Genesis. 10 different times in the book of Genesis you will find the phrase “these are the generations of.” This is the switching phrase where a new author is now taking over. Apparently God wrote the first chapter. There is no way anyone else would have known those things. But for chapter 2 Adam was there and was an eyewitness to what was happening. Adam wrote chapters 2, 3, and 4.

Keep in mind that Moses edited Genesis from 10 eyewitness accounts. The accounts were probably written on clay tablets. Noah would have taken these tablets on the ark with him. The fact that people wrote down their account before Moses did does not mean that they got it right. The skeptics will say that the Samarian legend was written before Moses was even alive. They then imply that Moses copied from them. This is simply not so. If you have several people that are eyewitnesses to an event and they all write a story about what they saw, the first one to publish his story isn’t necessarily the one that got the story right. The fact that somebody published first doesn’t mean that they got the story right.

Genesis 5 says “these are the generations of Adam.” Adam is signing off and a new author is taking over. Genesis chapter 6:9 says, “These are the generations of Noah…” Noah is signing off there. Noah actually wrote chapter 5 and part of chapter 6. In chapter 10:1, “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.” Noah’s sons wrote part of Genesis. Shem was apparently interested in keeping track of where all the kids and grandkids were going. Genesis chapter 10 is known as the Table of Nations and it goes through 75 different, original nationalities. Some people are simply interested in genealogies. Apparently Shem was one of these people.

Genesis 11:27, “Now these are the generations of Terah…” Genesis 25:12, “Now these are the generations of Ishmael…” Genesis 25:19, “And these are the generations of Isaac…” Genesis 36:1, “Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.”

When you read through chapter 36 of Genesis you will notice that one of the writers was interested in dukes, i.e. “the dukes that came of Esau,” “duke Timnah,” “duke Alvah,” “duke Jetheth,” etc. It is very interesting to note that no dates are given for these ‘dukes’ and how old they were when their sons were born. The only ones that get the dates mentioned as to how old they were when their sons were born are the ones that are in direct line to the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Jacob also wrote part of Genesis. Genesis 37:2, “These are the generations of Jacob.” Ten different times in Genesis you see the phrase, “these are the generations of.” There were 10 different authors, all of them eyewitnesses: which makes it even better!

(From the Questions and Answers DVD by Dr. Kent Hovind. His materials are not copyrighted.)


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