Moses did. That’s the short answer, anyway, and blogs ought to be reasonably short and to the point. But let’s delve just a bit into the so-called “controversy” surrounding the question of who wrote the Pentateuch.

Many of today’s theologians deny that Moses wrote Genesis, subscribing instead to a man-made theory which began to flourish in Germany during the mid-1800s. Those German theologians called themselves “higher critics,” and were noted for one area of common ground: they denied the reality of miracles. They were influenced by Charles Darwin, among other writers, and believed that the physical universe which we inhabit is the only sphere of existence. There is no heaven, no supernatural, no Creator, and therefore any appearance of the miraculous in the Bible must have a physical, material explanation.

For example, these critics rejected the idea that Isaiah could have prophesied about the Babylonian captivity hundreds of years before it happened, so they conjectured that the book of Isaiah must have been written by someone other than Isaiah after the time of Cyrus (Isaiah 44-45). Moses could not have understood (they claim) about the triune nature of the Godhead, so God’s speaking to Himself at the time of creating Adam (Genesis 1:26) must be some notion drawn by “redactors” from pagan myths.

So modern theologians will tell you that Moses did not write Genesis; rather, they claim, the book was pieced together like a patchwork quilt by a bare minimum of three unknown editors who gleaned their ideas from pagan myths and decided together (although they lived hundreds of years apart) to write an account of creation for the benefit of the Jews who were allegedly being confused by those alleged pagan myths. In a future post, I will address these myths, which modern theologians claim to be the “sources” of Genesis; suffice to say for now that the myths which actually do exist have nothing in common with Genesis, and the myths which they love to claim as the closest sources for Genesis do not and never have existed — they are inventions of the higher critics who are trying not to get caught in this big lie.

Jesus spoke of the Pentateuch as “the books of Moses.” “And as for the dead being raised,” Jesus said to the Sadducees, “have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” (Mark 12:26, ESV). This, of course, is a reference to Exodus, and Jesus was endorsing the idea that Moses was its author. It is worse than sophistry to claim that Jesus just used that term as a sort of “short-hand,” a way of referring to Exodus that His audience would understand without correcting their misunderstanding. It is worse than sophistry — it is blasphemy. If the Jews had been wrong in thinking that Moses was the author of Exodus, Jesus would never have endorsed the idea, directly or otherwise, for “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22, ESV).

Does it really matter, you might be asking, whether or not Moses wrote Genesis? But the real issue here is not whether or not Moses wrote Genesis, but whether Genesis is a reliable historical document which gives reliable information on the origins of life on earth. One of the most basic tenets of the modern higher critics is to persuade the Bible student that the Bible does not mean what it seems to mean. When Jesus refers to Exodus as “the book of Moses,” the higher critics want us to assume that the text means something other than what it appears to mean, that the gospels aren’t really telling us that Jesus ascribed the Pentateuch to Moses.

Modern theologians use this ruse to devastating effect once they have deceived the layman into doubting his own common sense when reading the Bible. They move on to tell us that the word “day” in Genesis 1 does not really mean a 24-hour period of time, and that the Bible is not really giving us a chronology of creation, and that there are contradictions between Genesis chapters 1 and 2, and on and on. The higher critics don’t mind contradicting themselves in these convoluted arguments, as we will see in future posts; the only thing that matters is to confuse the unenlightened Bible reader, casting elements of doubt concerning whether or not Scripture is reliable.

So the short answer is the best: Moses wrote Genesis.

  3 Responses to “Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?”

  1. Here is some refinement on our common position. http://katwijk.gkv.nl/anderson/pdfenglish/Moses.pdf
    God is good
    jpu

    • That is not common ground. I reject the premise that Moses wrote only the Law, while the Pentateuch as a whole was produced by other folks who wrote and amended and edited and redacted and xeroxed and posted it all on the Internet around 1993. If you will just finish my book, John, you’ll have a better understanding of my views on these issues.

      On a housekeeping note: I’ll be closing the Pharaoh’s Magicians site on Monday, I think, having my site host forward http://www.pharaohs-magicians.com to this site. That means that the old site will not be accessible; typing that address will bring you here.

      Feel free to copy your comments from that site and paste them in here. If you do, I’ll copy my responses and paste them in their appropriate locations here. That will retain this ongoing dialogue; otherwise, most of our interactions will be lost. Entirely up to you.

  2. Do you have a better explanation for the things mentioned in the books that happened after Moses and Joshua? The author is acknowledging Moses as the author except for the stuff he couldn’t have known, when Manna ended, the town of Dan, etc. It’s not a faith crisis to attribute to Moses things that he didn’t write with his own quill and ink. Matthew does it in Chapter 27 about the Zechariah’s prophecy about the 30 silver coins but attributed it to Jeremiah. A simple explanation was the minor prophet’s work was part of the scroll of the greater prophet. In the same way, everything that is in Moses’ book, the Pentatuech, does not have to be exclusively by Moses, does it? He even refers to other books as references/sources.
    God is good
    jpu

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