22 ¶ And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Genesis, also known as the First Book of Moses, covers nearly half of history from the creation of the physical universe and life until the people that God carved out of fallen mankind for Himself are secure in Egypt. Egypt will be a nursery where this people can grow from a few into many. In God’s ministry of reconciliation, drawing mankind to Himself, Genesis lays out the first steps, dealing with man’s sin, using man’s foolish and often wicked choices, and going beyond anything that man himself planned to produce this end result of salvation for those who would receive God in the flesh for their salvation.
It began with a world much different than we live in today. Nothing was meant to die. As one non-Christian evolutionary biologist pointed out, which I referenced earlier;
Humans on rare occasions may survive to 120 years, some turtles to 200. But all animals eventually die. Many single-cell organisms may die, as the result of accident or starvation; in fact the vast majority do. But there is nothing programmed into them that says they must die. Death did not appear simultaneously with life. This is one of the most important and profound statements in all of biology. At the very least it deserves repetition: Death is not inextricably intertwined with the definition of life. (50)
But, Adam, the first man, stood by and watched his wife, Eve, get taken in by Satan’s rebellion against God, his desire to be God and then followed her lead. She was tempted by the three things that mankind has ever since then fallen to repeatedly.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
As Jesus warned the religious of His day of walking on earth as a human being;
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Genetically, spiritually, psychologically, culturally, and in every way all human behavior was tainted by this willingness to exercise their free will to defy God’s commands and break fellowship with him. The result was death for all living thing, decay and corruption. Death became the primary cause of disruption of God’s perfect plan, a judgment on all of the earth for man’s sin. We alone bear the responsibility for all death from the African savanna to the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, from the hospital in town to a lonely hut in the wilderness.
Man suffered and suffers;
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
And, in fact, all creation suffers because of man’s sin.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Another atheist science writer notes with no hope of reconciliation;
The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored….In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. (51)
These men have no hope nor do they have any understanding because they reject God’s revelation of His ministry of reconciling mankind to Himself. But we know the truth and should teach it to each other and to our children.
Now, God, the Creator of all things and master of all reality, has taken a people for Himself from out of a sin-darkened world through which He will insert Himself physically into this dimension of existence for a brief time as one of us while still being fully God. Thus ends the first book of the account given to Moses, the story of God’s ministry, His-story.
And so, the first half of history ends in a coffin in Egypt.
(50) William R. Clark, Sex and the Origins of Death (London: Oxford University Press, 1998), 54.
(51) Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 154-155.