[Originally published as Why Genealogies?]
We have stated many times that Canyon Ministries is about people. There can be no other way, for that is the heart of God. The character of God, as revealed to us by him, is the blueprint for understanding life.
This is a significant truth to cling to as we work to understand and respond to what we experience in this life. It is equally significant as we respond to Scripture. The Holy Bible is not a collection of wise philosophies and pragmatic instructions compiled for the benefit of healthy living and the general well-being of mankind. It is alive and active, sharper than any double edge sword (Hebrews). It is the power of salvation (Romans). It is God breathed (Timothy).
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25–27
The Scriptures are the written outpouring of the heart of God, making known through the gospel and the prophetic writings the very character and nature of God. Therefore, as we read God’s presentation of himself to us, we must be seeking to know him; rather than be content to know about him. This drives us to consider why he chooses to include the details provided and exclude information that we may be curious about.
The inclusion of genealogies presents a great example of this point. Why does God include numerous genealogies throughout scripture? They are challenging to read, seem irrelevant to modern living, and are mostly skipped over. Yet, God chose to include them as a part of making Himself known to us. What do they reveal about the heart of God? Perhaps surprisingly, many pages can be written to answer that question. Not because it is complicated and complex but rather because there is so much of God being revealed.
- As stated above, God is about people. It is the people that matter. God highlights his people. A biographical study of the people God uses encourages us to realize that sinful man does not preclude God from using us to advance the kingdom. As the Jewish leaders discovered about the apostles in Acts 4, we are simply unschooled, ordinary people who have been with Jesus.
- God is truth. The truth gets challenged, questioned, doubted, and attacked. God desires us to have confidence in the truth and, by faith, stand our life upon the truth. Our hearts and minds require evidence and a means to validate information before we place our trust in it.
The genealogies of Scripture are a huge piece of that process. Through the combined study of anthropology and archaeology, we can verify and validate the reliability of the genealogies. Reliable genealogies validate the time periods represented by the people within them.
This is the means by which we can have a reasonable estimation of the age of the earth. There are no reliable means via geology to determine the age of the earth. The dating methods used for rocks and fossils are based upon numerous assumptions that cannot be validated due to the lack of observational data. However, the genealogies of Scripture can be followed back to Adam as the first man. As such, reliable genealogies provided a testable means of determining the age of the earth.
There is certainly more to engage with concerning the genealogies and why they are provided. However, these two examples present a good starting point. Practical application can be attributed to understanding God’s heart and the impetus behind lengthy passages of scripture dedicated to detailing the people of the past. God has given us everything we need to have complete trust in His word from the very first verse.