LESSON 1
GOD THE CREATOR 
(GENESIS 1; JOHN 1; 2 PETER 3)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references
are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973,
1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise
noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a
blackboard or some other visual aid. This lesson can be
found at: <url:http://www.CameronLaw.com>

Introduction: This week we begin at the beginning!  Not only
do we start a new quarter and a new series of lessons, but
our study is Creation. It is my impression that many
Christians take the Biblical account of Creation with more
than a little skepticism.  As with many other things, if you
start out on the wrong track, you are unlikely to get to the
right destination. The Biblical account of Creation is
critical to a correct belief regarding the nature and power
of God, the nature of sin and the importance of the Sabbath.
It also a mirror to determine your level of confidence in
God's Word.  Let's dig in!

     I.   GOD IN THE BEGINNING

               A.   Read Genesis 1:1-5. The Hebrew word translated
          "God" in the first verse, "'Elohiym," is plural.
          Who (or what) do you think this means created the
          heavens and the earth?

                         1.   Verse 2 mentions "the Spirit of God."  Is this
               a different God?  Do we now have two Gods in
               the picture? How does the Spirit fit in?

               B.   Read John 1:1-3. This text tells us that someone
          was with God "in the beginning." It also tells us
          that this someone made "all things!" Who is this
          someone? (The "Word.")

                         1.   Who is "The Word?" (If you look down in this
               chapter to verses 14 and 15 we find that the
               "Word" became flesh and dwelled with us. We
               also learn that John the Baptist identified
               this person. Skip down to verses 29 and 30 in
               this chapter and John identifies this person
               as Jesus.)

               C.   Who have we discovered is the plural God(s) who
          created the earth? (Jesus ("The Word"), the Spirit
          of God and God the Father.)

               D.   I have a Jewish friend whose most effective
          argument against Jesus is the popular refrain (the
          "Shema") "the Lord our God, the Lord is one." (See
          Deuteronomy 6:4 and Mark 12:29) How would you
          "stuff" Jesus into the Shema?

                         1.   Try getting into a concert with the logic we
               have just discussed! Consider the line: "Our
               family is one, therefore please accept one
               ticket." Think that will work? What if it is a
               Christian contemporary music concert?

                         2.   Doesn't it defy logic to say that the plural
               is one? (Actually, no. If you again look at
               the Hebrew word for "our God" in Deuteronomy
               6:4 we again have the plural "Elohiym."  This
               is no mistake in word usage. The Shema is
               really saying "The Lord our Gods" is one. It
               means our plural is a single entity.)

               E.   A casual reader of the Bible would notice God the
          Father as being the first to show up in the Old
          Testament.  Jesus comes later in the gospels, and
          the Holy Spirit arrives last on the scene in Acts.
          Does it change your thinking about God to realize
          that all three Members of the Godhead, the Father,
          Son and Holy Spirit were working together in the
          Creation?

                         1.   How would you guess they did it?

                                   a.   What do you make of the fact that God
                    spoke (Genesis 1:3 "and God said") matters
                    into existence and Jesus is called (John
                    1) "the Word?"

                         2.   What does the fact of the trinity being
               involved in creation add to your mental
               picture of the Godhead?

                         3.   Does it make you view the creation
               differently?

                         4.   Did Adam and Eve get to talk to all three in
               Eden? (These last questions are interesting to
               think about for a short period, but God has
               not revealed all of these details to us.)

     II.  THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD IN THE BEGINNING

               A.   Let's shift gears slightly. Read 2 Peter 3:1-4.
          Peter wants to stimulate some wholesome thinking!
          Let's join in! What problem does Peter predict?
          (Scoffers and skeptics who have an evil "me first"
          attitude.)

                         1.   On what logic do they base their evil behavior
               and their scoffing? (They do not acknowledge
               the authority of God in their lives because He
               has not come the second time as promised.
               Nothing has changed -- so why should they
               believe in God or His power and authority?)

                                   a.   Peter suggests in 2 Peter 3:2 that we
                    should remember the words of the Bible. Do
                    these scoffers remember the Bible? Do they
                    have some Biblical knowledge? (Yes! The
                    refer to the promise of a "Coming" and
                    say, "Where is it?")

                                   b.   If the scoffers remember the words of the
                    Bible (which is our goal) Are they right
                    about nothing ever changing? Is their
                    memory accurate?

               B.   We need to read on to fully answer this last
          question. Read 2 Peter 3:5-7.  What is wrong with
          the scoffers' memory? (It is selective. They
          "forgot" some important parts of the Bible.)

                         1.   What did they forget? (They forgot the
               Creation   the subject of our study this
               quarter! Disbelief in the power and authority
               of God and evil behavior arise as a result of
               "forgetting" Creation.)

                         2.   Are the scoffers right that the Second Coming
               has not come? (Yes.)

                         3.   What, then, is the flaw in their thinking and
               their memory?  What does the Creation have to
               do, if anything, with the reality of the
               Second Coming of Christ?

                         4.   In a trial the judge and jury look at the
               evidence.  What "evidence" does Peter give for
               the Second Coming of Christ? (God's word
               controlled the water both in the Creation and
               in the Flood. His word will bring the fire of
               judgment at the Second Coming.  Peter is
               saying that if God's power can create and
               destroy the world through water, then He can
               certainly destroy it again through fire.)

                                   a.   Do you agree with Peter's logic?

                                   b.   Do you know Christians who do not believe
                    in a literal creation or a literal flood?

                                             (1)  Do they have any reasonable basis to
                         believe in the Second Coming of
                         Christ?

                                   c.   What if you believe in "Creation," but do
                    not believe in a literal six days of
                    Creation?

                                             (1)  Does that make you a scoffer?

                                             (2)  Is that a denial of the power and
                         authority of God?

                                   d.   What if you believe that God had help?
                    That some natural disaster "helped" God in
                    the flood?  Or that Noah was "stretching"
                    things a bit with the flood story? (Two
                    issues are important here.  First, is
                    trusting the Word of God. Second, is
                    believing in the power of God.  If God is
                    not trustworthy in His message to us (even
                    in the Creation account), if God does not
                    have the power to do what He reports He
                    has done, then why should we believe He is
                    competent and trustworthy to bring about
                    the Second Coming?)

                                   e.   Do you remember the story of the spies who
                    "checked out" the promised land for Moses
                    and the Israelites?  The story is found in
                    Numbers 13 & 14.

                                             (1)  What attitude did the people have
                         towards God after they heard the
                         spies report?

                                             (2)  Is this the same attitude as our
                         "scoffers?"(Read Numbers 14:11, 21-
                         23. God tells us that if we do not
                         trust Him and His power we "treat
                         [Him] with contempt.")

                                             (3)  Is it a fair conclusion that those
                         who do not believe the Creation story
                         are treating God with contempt?

                                             (4)  If God would not let those who did
                         not trust Him, those who treated Him
                         with contempt, enter the promised
                         land, why should we think that He
                         will allow those who do not trust Him
                         to enter heaven at His Second Coming?

     III. HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?

               A.   Does a belief in a literal creation change the way
          you view God on a daily basis?  Does it make a
          practical difference in your life?

               B.   Let's continue to read what Peter says about this.
          Read 2 Peter 3:10-12.  Peter's line of logic is
          that if God has the power to create (in Creation)
          and the power to destroy (in the Flood), He has the
          power to destroy and recreate in the Second Coming.
          What is Peter's conclusion about how we should
          live? (2 Peter 3:11 "You ought to live holy and
          godly lives.")

                         1.   Does this undercut the concept of
               righteousness by faith? (No! It is the essence
               of righteousness by faith.  The scoffers did
               not obey because they did not believe in the
               power and authority of God.  If you do believe
               in His power and authority, this, Peter says,
               should have a profound effect on your daily
               life.  It is righteousness that flows from
               faith!)

     IV.  NEXT WEEK: GOD'S TWO BOOKS: SCRIPTURE AND NATURE