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 : GOBIBLE
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!
- GOD IN THE BEGINNING
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.”)
- 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.)
- Who have we discovered is the plural God(s) who created the earth? (Jesus (“The Word”), the Spirit of God and God the Father.)
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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?
- How would you guess they did it?
- 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?”
- What does the fact of the trinity being involved in creation add to your mental picture of the Godhead?
- Does it make you view the creation differently?
- 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.)
- THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD IN THE BEGINNING
- 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.)
- 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?)
- 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?”)
- If the scoffers remember the words of the Bible (which is our goal) Are they right about nothing ever changing? Is their memory accurate?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Are the scoffers right that the Second Coming has not come? (Yes.)
- 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?
- 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.)
- Do you agree with Peter’s logic?
- Do you know Christians who do not believe in a literal creation or a literal flood?
- Do they have any reasonable basis to believe in the Second Coming of Christ?
- What if you believe in “Creation,” but do not believe in a literal six days of Creation?
- Does that make you a scoffer?
- Is that a denial of the power and authority of God?
- 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?)
- 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.
- What attitude did the people have towards God after they heard the spies report?
- 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.”)
- Is it a fair conclusion that those who do not believe the Creation story are treating God with contempt?
- 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?
- HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?
- 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?
- 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.”)
- 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!)
- NEXT WEEK: GOD’S TWO BOOKS: SCRIPTURE AND NATURE