Many people ask the question, “If a person wants to learn how to counsel, where does one begin?” One of the answers could be, “Start in Ephesians 4 where Paul tells us how to change and grow.” Another answer could be, “Go to James 1:13-18 where James describes the process of temptation and the final results of sin.” Others may consider starting in Romans 6 with an understanding of how to present oneself as an instrument of righteousness rather than an instrument of sin. I would answer the question by stating, “Biblical counseling begins in Genesis.” I believe we should start with Genesis because Genesis presents the following:
- The reasons for biblical counseling (the effects of the curse of sin)
- The first counseling sessions that occurred – between God (the Counselor) and Adam (the counselee)
- The first picture of rejecting God’s counsel (Adam’s sinful choice to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil)
- The solution to the problem of man’s sin (Gen. 3:15 where the seed of the woman is going to bruise the head of the serpent – the 1st prophetic statement about Jesus’ coming and the plan of redemption)
- A myriad of other truths which can be used in biblical counseling to help people see that God has answers to everyday life situations
The goal of this blog series is not an exhaustive study of Genesis nor is it to debate the various views of creation. But rather, it is a beginning (no pun intended) to understanding foundational truths that flow out of Genesis and how those truths fit into the biblical counseling process of helping people to bring glory to the God who created them!
Genesis 1 Presents the Counselor with a Biblical View of God’s Authority.
A person does not have to be a student of the Scriptures for very long to know that the most attacked section in the Bible is Genesis 1-11(especially chapters 1-3). Since God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His Word, we come to a better understanding of God’s authority by starting at the beginning where God establishes two aspects of His authority. The first aspect of authority is the authority of the Scriptures themselves – inspired by the Holy Spirit and “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), enduring “until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18), and sufficient for “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Beginning with the authority of the Scriptures is important because understanding origins in the book of Genesis is foundational to the integrity of the rest of the Bible.
I’m writing from the perspective of six literal 24-hour days when God created (i.e., to make out of nothing) everything by speaking it into existence! This perspective is based on the fact that every use of the Hebrew word day, when connected with a number, always refers to a 24-hour period. Knowing this fact will help us to view God’s Omnipotence as the Creator who spoke everything into existence. What is the point of all this? Genesis 1:1 is the starting place of truth: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Implications If This Is Not True
If the teaching of Genesis 1 & 2 can be disproven, then why should we believe anything else in the Bible?
- Why should we believe what John wrote in John 1:1-4? “In the beginning was the Word (the logos, referring to Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”
- Why should we believe what Paul says in Colossians 1:13-18? “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
- Why should we believe Peter’s words in 2 Peter 3:10-13? “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13). Peter is telling us that God Himself will instantly destroy the entire universe, as we know it. In short, God in a moment will uncreate everything He created. This truth has a tremendous bearing upon His power to create. The same One who with a word can uncreate the universe is capable of creating it as quickly as He wants to create it.
We should start the counseling process in the book of Genesis, where the authority of the Scriptures is established, and God’s position of authority as the Creator is foundational to our response to various temptations. Evolutionists don’t attack Genesis so much because of God being the Creator, but that His position as the Creator also establishes Him up as the Moral Law Giver. Without the Moral Law Giver determining right from wrong for our thinking and conduct, man can do what is right in his own eyes. Genesis 1 is the place to begin the counseling process where God’s authority and man’s position are clearly established.