Question: Since Genesis is the first book of the Bible and records the creation of the earth, does that also make it the oldest book of the Bible?
Actually, Genesis is not the oldest book of the Bible. Moses compiled the first five books of the Bible around 1400 B.C. The events in Genesis alone cover the roughly 4,300 years—from creation to the death of Abraham’s son, Joseph, in Egypt. Earth’s early history would have been handed down from Adam and Eve, who lived nearly a thousand years, to their descendants.
Older than the book of Moses by perhaps as much as 700 years is the book of Job. Job was a real person, as testified by the Lord God Himself:
Ezek. 14:20 …as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.
James, the Lord’s brother and first leader of the Jerusalem Church, also refers to Job as an historical person:
James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
He lived in the region in Arabia called Uz, named after one of Adam’s great-grandsons (Gen. 10:23). Evidence from the book of Job itself indicates that he lived around the time of Abraham, just a few centuries after the Flood. Both he and his friends reminded each other of the Flood as God’s judgment upon mankind as if it were a relatively recent event in history (Job 12:15; 22:15-16; 26:10; 38:8, 11).
Job also lived at such an early stage of history that he saw dinosaurs, which he called “behemoth” (Job 40:15-23). He also interacted with (and was abused by) what appear to be Neanderthal tribes. They are described as those who lived in the wastelands, and who had a staggered way of walking that made them look as if they were drunk (Job 12:24-25). They were treated as outcasts and “…were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth. A base and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land” (Job 30:6-8).
Job, probably written somewhere around 2100-2000 B.C., is the Bible’s oldest book, dating back a few hundred years after the great Flood. The most recent book of the Bible is Revelation, written around 95 A.D. That means the Bible is over 4,000 years old from the time the first book, Job, was composed. The book of Genesis, composed much later, contains material dating all the way back to Adam, to the dawn of human history and creation itself.
What a treasure! We have eyewitness accounts going back to the first humans, a trustworthy history that describes not only our origins but also God’s very plan and purpose for the human race!
Ps. 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.