In any study that I do on here, I try to give some background before I dive into it all. Partially because I’m a nerd and I find all of this really interesting, and partially because I believe that it is very important to understand as believers how the Bible came to be. Both for our own knowledge and understanding, and so we can defend our faith. So with that said, let’s get into who wrote the book of Genesis.
If you, like me, grew up with a traditional understanding of the Bible than you know that the first five books were written by Moses. This has been the accepted authorship of Genesis for thousands of years, so I was actually really surprised to find out that there are Christians that don’t believe this, and I had never heard of the Document Hypothesis of 1876.
The Document Hypothesis basically states that there were multiple authors of the first five books, and that the last author was the one that put all these documents together and for good measure he put Moses’ name on all of them.
But prior to 1876 everyone believed that Moses was the author. So, why did people abandon that which had been believed for 1800 years at this point, and start supporting this hypothesis? Well this is what the Hypothesis states:
#1: That Moses could not have written his own obituary.
I absolutely understand this, in fact, I remember reading Deuteronomy the first time and the last chapter giving me pause for the same reason. The last chapter of the book is talking about the death of Moses and the people of Israel mourning, and Joshua taking his place. Now I think it is truly unlikely that Moses wrote the last 4 verses of Deuteronomy. But it is easy for me to believe that Joshua, or someone like him added the last 4 verses after Moses died to honor him and to tell what happen to him. To me this point is not enough for me to believe that Moses didn’t write Deuteronomy or the other four books.
#2: They believed that writing had not been developed in Moses’ time.
So I totally understand this argument. In 1876 they believed that writing, at least writing as advanced as the Bible had not been developed yet. Well, if i lived in 1876 I would have a hard time disputing this argument. But today we know that this isn’t the case at all. Archaeologists have found written documents that are dated well before the time of Moses.
#3: There are different names for God used.
This is the argument that really the whole Document hypothesis is based on. All throughout the 5 books there are different names for God used. So the theory is that there must have been multiple authors that preferred different names for the Lord. This is the one I can’t get behind, because I used different names for God all time. In fact I’ve done it even in this paragraph. And I seriously doubt that anyone would read through my posts and say “well they used God here and Father there, so it must be different authors.”
More than just that none of these supposed documents have ever been found, not the originals or any copies. Now, this isn’t true of the Bible, we have tons of copies, full copies of the Torah ranging in dates. But there are none of these supposed documents. And I can tell you as someone who is majoring in history that this is a huge problem. It means that historically speaking this theory holds no water.
So rather than just arguing against this theory let me give you my two reason why I as a Christian believe that Genesis was written by Moses.
#1: Moses is the accepted author historically.
Friends, every reference to the authorship of the first five books prior to 1876 attributed them to Moses, both in scripture and out of scripture. And that satisfies me in the flesh. Intellectually I can say that there is far more evidence that Moses wrote the first five books. But my second point is far more important to me.
#2: Jesus said that Moses was the author.
For me that’s enough. That is all I need to believe it.
Jesus attributes Genesis to Moses in Mark 10, Exodus to Moses in Luke 20:37, Leviticus to Moses in Matthew 8:4, Numbers to Moses in John 3:14, and Deuteronomy to Moses in Matthew 19:8.
Jesus isn’t mistaken, and He isn’t wrong. He said it, that settles it, and I believe it.
Friends it’s so important that we as believers stand on a firm foundation of the truth of the Bible. Because when we believe His word, all of His word. We cant be shaken.
As always I pray for you all, I pray that we all would delve deeper into who God is and what this awesome book is all about. In his precious name, Amen.