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Sermon No: 40090-Genesis - Who was the author


SERMON TOPIC: Genesis C - Who was the author

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 5 August 2018


Sermon synopsis: Pentateuch means the first five books of the Bible. These books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The word Pentateuch comes from two Greek words that mean 'five books' or 'five scrolls'. According to tradition, the books were written by the Israelite leader, Moses. The Pentateuch is often called the Five Books of Moses or the Torah and tells the story from the Creation of the world to the death of Moses and the preparation of the Israelites to enter the land of Canaan.

Until the last three hundred years, both Jews and Christians were almost unanimous in their belief that Moses was the author (or at least the compiler) of Genesis as well as the author of Exodus through Deuteronomy. Reasons for the rejection of Moses' authorship were not based upon any objective evidence but stemmed from an anti-supernatural bias on behalf of the critics.
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Who is the author?

Psalm 8:3.

The Pentateuch. (Wikipedia)

Pentateuch means the first five books of the Bible.

These books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The word Pentateuch comes from two Greek words that mean "five books" or "five scrolls". According to tradition, the books were written by the Israelite leader, Moses. The Pentateuch is often called the Five Books of Moses or the Torah and tells the story from the Creation of the world to the death of Moses and the preparation of the Israelites to enter the land of Canaan.

The story is told in three parts.

The first part (Genesis 1-11) is about the Creation and the beginning of human beings on earth.

The second part (Genesis 12-50) are the stories of the ancestors of the Israelites, mainly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

The third part beginning with the book of Exodus, describes how the Israelites left Egypt and the early history of the people of Israel as a nation


Though the Pentateuch is known as the Book of Moses, nowhere in Genesis is the author named.

Until the last three hundred years, both Jews and Christians were almost unanimous in their belief that Moses was the author (or at least the compiler) of Genesis as well as the author of Exodus through Deuteronomy.

Reasons for the rejection of Moses' authorship were not based upon any objective evidence but stemmed from an anti-supernatural bias on behalf of the critics.

Internal evidences in the text of the Pentateuch indicate that the author was familiar with Egyptian customs, as would be expected of Moses.

The JEDP hypothesis.

Did Moses really write Genesis? by Russell Grigg

A deadly hypothesis denying that Moses had anything to do with Genesis, based on spurious scholarship, is still widely being taught to future Christian leaders

Nearly all liberal Bible colleges and seminaries, and sadly some which profess conservative evangelical doctrine, approvingly teach the ‘documentary hypothesis’, also known as the ‘JEDP hypothesis’.

J (standing for what the documentary hypothesists would term Jahwist) supposedly lived about 900–850 BC. He/ she/ they allegedly gathered the myths and legends of Babylon and other nations, and added them to the ‘camp-fire stories’ of the Hebrews, producing those biblical passages where the Hebrew letters YHWH (‘Jehovah’) are used as the name of God. Creation .com

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

E (standing for Elohist) supposedly lived about 750–700 BC in the northern kingdom (Israel), and wrote those passages where ’Elohim is used as the word for God.

D supposedly wrote most of Deuteronomy, probably the book found in the temple in Jerusalem in 621 BC. (2 Kings 22:8).

P supposedly represents a Priest (or priests) who lived during the exile in Babylon and allegedly composed a code of holiness for the people.

Various editors R (from German Redakteur) supposedly put it all together.

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

The idea of multiple authorship of these books was first proposed by Jean Astruc in Paris in 1753. However, the foremost exponent was Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918), who ‘restated the Documentary Hypothesis … in terms of the evolutionary view of history which was prevalent in philosophical circles at the time’.

He claimed that those parts of the Old Testament that dealt with sophisticated doctrine (one God, the Ten Commandments, the tabernacle, etc.) were not truth revealed by the living God, but were ideas that evolved from lower stages of thinking, including polytheism, animism, ancestor worship, etc.

Hence the ‘need’ to find or fabricate later authors

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

The JEDP system is self-contradictory, as its proponents need to break verses into sections and even credit parts of sentences (that use more than one term for God) to different writers. Such a hotchpotch would be unique in ancient Middle Eastern literature. The ‘scholarship’ used to promote the documentary hypothesis would be laughed out of court if applied to any other ancient book!

2 Timothy 3:15-17.

And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

Was Moses J, E, D, P, or R?


He was none of the above.

Rather, Moses himself was both writer and editor of the Pentateuch, and these five books were composed by him in about 1400 BC , not by unknowns at the time of the Exile.

This does not mean that Moses did not use other written sources available to him, or that he wrote the last few verses of Deuteronomy 34 that record his death.

Talmudic (Rabbinic Jewish) tradition has always been that these were added, under divine inspiration, by Joshua.

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

There is no external evidence at all in support of J, E, D, P, or R.

What were their names?

What else did these alleged literary savants write?

History, both Hebrew and secular, knows nothing of them.

They exist only in the fertile imaginations of the inventors of the documentary hypothesis.

"I beg and faithfully warn every pious Christian not to stumble at the simplicity of the language and stories that will often meet him there [in Genesis]. He should not doubt that, however simple they may seem, these are the very words, works, judgments, and deeds of the high majesty, power, and wisdom of God." (Luther, cited in Boice)

Who wrote the book of Genesis? Creation .com

Computer agrees: Genesis had only one author

The following quote comes from Omni magazine of August 1982:

‘After feeding the 20,000 Hebrew words of Genesis into a computer at Technion University in Israel, researchers found many sentences that ended in verbs and numerous words of six characters or more.

Because these idiosyncratic patterns appear again and again, says project director Yehuda Radday, it seems likely that a sole author was responsible.

Their exhaustive computer analysis conducted in Israel suggested an 82 percent probability that the book has just one author.’

The JEDP hypothesis. Creation .com

One of the main arguments was that writing had supposedly not been invented yet at the time of Moses.

Contrary to the views of Wellhausen and others, archaeological research has established that writing was indeed well known in Moses’ day.

The JEDP hypothesis falsely assumes that the Israelites waited until many centuries after the foundation of their nation before committing any of their history or laws to written form, even though their neighbours kept written records of their own history and religion from before the time of Moses.

Genesis and archaeology.

One major problem with the Documentary Hypothesis is that we now know Moses did not live “prior to all knowledge of writing.”

In fact, he lived long after the art of writing was already known. A veritable plethora of archaeological discoveries has proven one of the earliest assumptions of the Wellhausen theory to be wrong.

In 1949, C.F.A. Schaeffer “found a tablet at Ras Shamra containing the thirty letters of the Ugaritic alphabet in their proper order. It was discovered that the sequence of the Ugaritic alphabet was the same as modern Hebrew, revealing that the Hebrew alphabet goes back at least 3,500 years” (Jackson, 1982, p. 32, emp. added).

Genesis and archaeology.

In 1933, J.L. Starkey, who had studied under famed archaeologist W.M.F. Petrie, excavated the city of Lachish, which had figured prominently in Joshua’s conquest of Canaan (Joshua 10).

Among other things, he unearthed a pottery water pitcher “inscribed with a dedication in eleven archaic letters, the earliest ‘Hebrew’ inscription known” (Wiseman, 1974, p. 705)

Writing in the time of Moses. (BBC)

Researchers in London have developed scanning techniques that show what is written on the papyrus that mummy cases are made from.

These are the decorated boxes into which the wrapped body of the deceased was placed before it was put in a tomb.

They are made from scraps of papyrus which were used by ancient Egyptians for shopping lists or tax returns.

The technology is giving historians a new insight into everyday life in ancient Egypt.

Writing in the time of Moses.

It has been proposed that Joseph’s coffin would have contained writings as was customary for the Pharaohs', which would have been available to Moses when he took Joseph’s bones back to Canaan as Joseph had requested before his death.

Moses wrote the Book of Genesis.

Jesus refers to the Pentateuch as Moses or the Law of Moses.

Luke 24:25-27. He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

And beginning with Moses

and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Moses wrote the Book of Genesis.

Luke 24:44.

He said to them, This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Numerous accounts are included in Genesis.

We can surmise that Moses wrote Genesis with help from actual written records from the past, God had preserved. There are references to some of these records.

Genesis 2:4.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

Genesis 5:1.

This is the written account of Adam’s family line.

Genesis 6:9.

This is the account of Noah and his family.

Numerous accounts are included in Genesis.

Genesis 10:1.

This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

Genesis 11:10.

This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Genesis 11:27.

This is the account of Terah’s family line.

Genesis 25:12.

This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.

Numerous accounts are included in Genesis.

Genesis 25:19.

This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.

Genesis 36:1.

This is the account of the family line of Esau

Genesis 36:9.

This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

Genesis 37:2.

This is the account of Jacob’s family line.

Genesis to Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.

The first five books of the Bible are known by various names, and in both the Old and New Testaments, the five are considered one book. (Hebrew name “The Torah”)

The book of the law. Joshua 1:7-8. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Genesis to Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.

The book of the law. Joshua 8:34-35. Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law, the blessings and the curses, just as it is written in the Book of the Law.

There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.

The Old Testament calls Genesis to Deuteronomy.

The book of the law of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 17:9. They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.

The law of Moses. 1 Kings 2:3. Observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.

Genesis to Deuteronomy in the New Testament.

New Testament In the New Testament these first five books are called.

The book of the law. Galatians 3:10. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

The book of Moses. Mark 12:26. Now about the dead rising, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

Genesis to Deuteronomy in the New Testament.

The law of the Lord. Luke 2:23. As it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”

The law of Moses . Luke 2:22. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

The law. Matthew 12:5. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?

1. Moses was Qualified.

There is a lot of evidence that Moses was the author or compiler of the Book of Genesis.

First, Moses was qualified to write the book. Moses was the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh. We are told that he was trained in all the wisdom and knowledge of Egypt.

Exodus 2:10.

And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, Because I drew him out of the water.

Acts 7:22. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

2. Moses had The Information.

Writing was common at his time.

Since Moses personally lead the people out of Egypt to the Promised Land there is no reason why he would not record their experiences. We also know that Moses had the necessary information to write the Pentateuch. He was the most prominent person in the events that transpired in Exodus through Deuteronomy.

In his farewell address in Deuteronomy 1-3 Moses displays intimate knowledge of their history.

3. Moses had the time.

Moses led the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years and although he was busy as leader and judge, he appointed rulers of each tribe to relieve him of the trivial matters Exodus 18:13-26. so he would only be dealing with the most important issues.

4. Moses definitely wrote some of the Pentateuch. We have internal testimony from the Pentateuch that Moses wrote at least part of it.

Exodus 17:14.

Then the Lord said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

4. Moses definitely wrote some of the Pentateuch .

Exodus 24:4.

And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Exodus 34:27.

Then the Lord said to Moses, Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. Numbers 33:2.

Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points.

4. Moses definitely wrote some of the Pentateuch.

Deuteronomy 31:19.

Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31: 24-26.

So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying: Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you.

5.The Testimony Of The Old Testament.

Joshua 1:7,8. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you . . . This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.

6.The Testimony of Jesus

John 5:46-47. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

We can't say we believe in Jesus if we don't believe in the Book of Genesis.


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (



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