Foundations for Faith -- By: Thomas R. Schreiner
SBJT 5:3 (Fall 2001) p. 2
Foundations for Faith
Thomas R. Schreiner is a professor of New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University and Bethel Theological Seminary. He is the author of Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament and co-author of The Race Set before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance. His most recent book is Paul, the Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology. In addition, he is serving as the preaching pastor of Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
We cannot understand who we are and where we are going without understanding our origins. Genesis is a book of beginnings, a book that sets the foundation for all that follows in the scriptures. We understand from Genesis that God created everything out of nothing, that this astonishingly magnificent universe did not come into existence randomly but by virtue of the word of God. Genesis teaches that God made men and women in his image, and that we were given the mandate to rule the world for God’s glory. It is clear from Genesis 1 that human beings are the crown of God’s creation because we are made in God’s likeness. Animals are not equal in significance to human beings, as some are suggesting today. We also learn from Genesis that marriage between a man and a woman was God’s idea, that he intended marriage for our joy, so that men and women together could function as God’s stewards over the world.
What has gone wrong with the human race? Genesis informs us that Adam and Eve rebelled against God, that they trusted their own wisdom and rejected God’s lordship. All the misery of the world can be traced back to the first human sin. Over the course of history, many remedies have been proposed to solve the ills of human beings. Any solution that refuses to recognize that the root problem with human beings is our refusal to glorify God as God and give him thanks (Rom 1:21) will not be effective. As believers in Jesus Christ we know that a person’s fundamental need is forgiveness of sins, a right relationship with God. Genesis reminds us of a crucial truth that is foundational to the call for repentence and faith. God did not create humans as evil. Everything God made was good. Adam and Eve turned away from God as the source of joy and life and, as Paul says, they “worshiped the creature rather than the creator” (Rom 1:25). Now all human beings enter the world as sinners and condemned by virtue of their union with Adam (Rom 5:12–19).
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