Introduction: Genesis explains how humans began. This history is of extraordinary importance in making decisions on how we should best live today. If, as science vainly argues, humans (and everything else) came about was the result of chance and natural selection, then important life decisions can be made by flipping a coin. But if history informs an intelligently chosen future, then Genesis has much to teach us to make our lives better. Let’s begin in the beginning!
I. In the Beginning
A. Read Genesis 1:1. How did the earth and the heavens come into existence? (God created both.)
B. Scan Genesis 1:3-18. How did God create the heavens and the earth? (By speaking!)
1. Is there any scientific evidence for that? (Read Romans 1:20. This tells us that the scientific proof for the power and nature of God appears in the creation. Humans who disbelieve are “without excuse.”)
C. Read Revelation 14:6-7. What is the first of the three end-time messages of Revelation 14? (To worship our Creator God because the hour of His judgment has come.)
1. What makes this first message most relevant now, considering that creation is an old story? (For the first time in history scientists understand that the universe is “fine-tuned” for life. Read “Fine-tuned universe” in Wikipedia as source for this: Stephen Hawking noted, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”)
D. I’m not a scientist, but I do get paid to carry the burden of proof on disputed issues. Most scientists believe in the “Big Bang” theory for the origin of the universe. This is in general agreement with the Biblical description that at a specific point in time (four days), the heavens and earth came into existence in the general form we see today. The Wikipedia article on the fine-tuned universe explains that for the earth, heavens, and life to exist there must have been several “physical constants” at the Big Bang. The exact number of constants is unknown, but many believe at least 25. The chance of each one of these physical constants being right has been calculated by scientists. Although they vary, the odds of the constant being right by accident is one in 10 with 36 zeros after it – and this is true for all 25 of the physical constants – they had to all be right at the same time. That means that the odds of being wrong are every other possibility except for the one right answer – which expressed in powers of ten is ten with 36 zeroes behind it. I rest my case! An intelligent Being created the heavens and the earth. We can now prove it by science.)
A. Read Genesis 1:26-27. What is the pattern for humans? (God Himself.)
1. How many genders did God create? (Two: “male and female He created them.”)
2. What authority is given to humans? (God gave humans “dominion” over animals.)
B. If humans came about as a result of accident, could your opinions on the relationships between humans and animals, and the issue of gender fluidity be different?
C. Read Genesis 1:28. Humans are commanded to “subdue” the earth. What do you think that means? (According to Strong’s the Hebrew means “tread down,” to bring into bondage.)
D. As a counter-point, read Genesis 2:15. Humans are told to “keep” the garden and “work it.” What would you conclude should be the relationship between humans and the earth based on Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:15? (We should not destroy the earth, but we should use it for our benefit.)
1. What do these verses teach us about the popular modern doctrine that humans should serve “Mother Nature?” (The earth is to serve humans, and not the other way around.)
A. Read Genesis 2:1-3. What is the connection between the Sabbath and the Creation? (The Sabbath memorializes the Creation. The seventh day is made “holy.”)
B. Read Exodus 20:8-11. When did the command to observe the Sabbath begin? (At the Creation. This text starts out “remember the Sabbath day.”)
1. As you read over these verses that form the Fourth Commandment, what do you notice about the nature of the rest? (It is universal “within your gates.” Everyone, even animals and visitors, are entitled to rest.)
2. How much time do you devote to serious thought?
a. If you answer, “not much,” when do you have serious thoughts? (When we are resting, and not distracted by entertainment, we can think. The Sabbath gives us the time to consider our lives in light of our Creator God.)
C. Read Psalms 100:1-3. When we take the time to contemplate our Creator God what results? (We are grateful. We are thankful. We are noisy. We are filled with praise. We realize that God is good and He loves us and is faithful to us. We are His people.)
IV. Human Dignity
A. Re-read Genesis 1:26-27. What is God’s goal for humans? (We are rulers. We are made “in the image of God.”)
B. Read Genesis 2:7. If you were made to be a ruler, and made in the image of God, why are you constructed out of dirt? Why not gold? Why not anything superior to dirt?
1. Whose breath was breathed into man? (God’s breath.)
2. Put these two facts together: dirt and God’s breath. What is God trying to teach us? (God’s breath changes everything. We have a very ordinary physical component, and an extraordinary spiritual component.)
3. How much effort did God go to in forming man? (God personally formed Adam.)
C. Read Genesis 2:20-22. How much effort did God take in making a woman? (Once again, it is personal work.)
1. If you had any pride, any sense of self-worth or dignity, would you choose this origin explanation over the evolutionary explanation of accident and natural selection?
a. How many people do you know describe their ancestors in the worst possible way?
b. Why do you think highly educated scientists argue that you descended from lower (much lower) life forms? (Read Romans 1:22-23. Romans is talking about idol worship, but this text also applies here – humans who claim to be wise trade the ancestry of their Immortal God for “birds and animals and creeping things.”)
D. Friend, believe Genesis, if for no other reason, than because it is provably true! Believe it because it gives you dignity. Believe it because it provides a universal weekly rest. Believe it because it informs decisions on the social wars of the day. God has much to teach us through Genesis. Will you be open to the Holy Spirit to convict you on these points?
V. Next week: The Fall.
Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.