Lesson 1

Foundations

(Genesis 1:1-3)
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Introduction: This week we begin at the beginning! Not only do we start a new quarter, but we start a new series of lessons on Genesis - the first book of the Bible. Followers of Darwin reject the Genesis account of the Creation. Worse, 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 into our study of whether the Creation account should be believed!

  1. The Beginning


    1. Read Genesis 1:1. Pretend that you have never read these words before. What does this text tell us about God? (That He was here in the beginning. He is the Creator.)


      1. 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?


      2. What does Genesis 1:1 tell us about the timing of the creation of the earth? (The heavens and the earth were created at the same time - the beginning.)


      3. What do you think is meant by the "heavens?" (Read Psalms 19:1-2. The same Hebrew word is used to describe "heavens." Thus, the earth was made at the same time as the visible universe.)


    2. Read Genesis 1:2. In what condition was the earth when it was created? (It needed a lot of additional work. It was a "fixer-upper.")


      1. One of the potential conflicts between those who believe in the Creation account and Darwinians(followers of Darwin)is the age of the earth. What age of the earth can Christians point to with confidence? (None. If you just look at the account, it says that the earth and the planets were created at the same "beginning" time. However, the additional creation work ( Genesis 1:3 and following)on the "formless and empty" earth could have taken place at a much later time. A "young earth" for the human story is possible along side "old earth" elements.)


      2. Genesis 1:2 mentions "the Spirit of God." Is this a different God? Is this the reason why we have a plural word used to describe God? How does the Spirit fit in?


    3. 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!" What is the clue we get about this someone? (The "Word.")


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


    4. Who have we discovered is the plural God(s) who created the earth? (Jesus ("The Word"), the Spirit of God and God the Father. It was a joint project of the Trinity.)


    5. 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 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.)


    6. 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? (To deny the Creation account is to deny the combined power of the Trinity.)


    7. Read Genesis 1:3. What is your reaction to the fact that God spoke ("and God said") matters into existence?


      1. Contemplate this: Jesus is called ( John 1:1) "the Word." What does this suggest was Jesus' role in creation? (It suggests that He was the One who was speaking the creation into existence. This is consistent with John 1:3 which says "all things" were made through Jesus.)


  2. The Beginning a Metaphor?


    1. We have this picture of the Trinity engaged in the work of transforming a featureless world into the perfect world. Darwinians argue that the evolutionary theory is the only intelligent account for the origin of the species. Read 2 Peter 3:3-7. 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?)


      2. What did the scoffers forget? (They "forgot" the Creation. If we came about by chance and not by God, then what authority has God over our life? Evil behavior based on "what is best for me" (or other standards outside of God's order) is the logical result of "forgetting" Creation.)


      3. What "evidence" does Peter give for God's coming judgment? (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.)


        1. Do you agree with Peter's logic?


        2. If a Christian does not believe in a literal Creation or a literal flood, does that Christian have any reasonable basis to believe in the Second Coming of Christ? (No, according to Peter. To deny these is to deny the power of God.)


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


      1. What attitude did the people have towards God after they heard the spies report? (Read Numbers 13:32-14:3. They did not believe in the power of God.)


        1. Is this the same attitude as Peter's "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.")


        2. Is it a fair conclusion that those who do not believe the Creation account are treating God with contempt?


          1. 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 enter heaven at His Second Coming? (One difference is that those who were doubting in Numbers had actually seen the miracles. We did not see the Creation or the Flood.)


    3. Let's look at the word of someone who did see both the Creation and the Flood. Read Matthew 19:3-6 and Luke 17:26-27. When you listen to Jesus refer to these events, does He make them sound like metaphors? (Jesus treats them as literal accounts. Notice that in Luke 17:22-25 Jesus also ties the Flood to His Second Coming.)


    4. Friend, the Bible is internally consistent on the Creation account. If you accept the Bible as God's word, then you should accept how He tells us that He created the world and us. Next week we will continue with the actual account.


  3. Next week: "In the Beginning..."

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Lessons on Genesis - Beginnings and Belongings

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